Fur Seal Facts | Antarctica Wildlife Guide
Fur seals are found along the coastline, favoring sheltered rocky beaches as their breeding grounds. Males start arriving in September and October, battling with one another over beach territories. The contentious bulls are highly defensive, and these fights continue, as cows begin arriving in late November. Having reached the beach, they give birth in two to four days’ time. One week after bearing young, females begin breeding and harems, maintained by bulls, are formed.
In mid-January, the fur seals disperse, and bulls retreat to the sea to feed for short periods at a time. Between late January and early March, the fur seals molt. Cows with their pups depart from the sheltered beaches in April, though juvenile males have been known to remain until the end of June.
The Antarctic fur seals dive to about 150 feet and feed mainly on krill. However, they also consume fish, squid and even penguins. During the winter, they migrate north to warmer waters. Individuals have ranged as far north as the South Island of New Zealand.
Mating colonies of Antarctic seals were discovered in South Georgia in the late 1700s. By the end of the 18th century, 30 vessels from England, Russia
It was thought that the South Georgia fur seals had become extinct, but in 1933 a small colony was found to have survived on Bird Island in South Georgia. From this meager beginning, and thanks to protective legislation, the population has increased massively and led to repopulation of other sites in the South Orkney, South Sandwich