Factors affecting early mortality in the South American fur seal (Arctocephalus australis) in Peru: density‐related effects and predation

Robert Harcourt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Early mortality in the South American fur seal (Arctocephatus australis) in Peru is considerably higher than that seen in any other population of fur seal; 31–49% in the first month as opposed to a maximum of 20% in other populations. In 1987 and 1988, pup mortality was found to be enhanced by density‐related effects and predation on pups by the southern sea‐lion (Olaria byronia). At a high density beach, where 60% of the fur seals bred, mortality correlated with the number of females ashore as did aggression. Female aggression was driven to high levels by a combination of high density and movement within the colony to thermoregulate. However, even at a low density, beach mortality remained high due to a high level of predation by male southern sea‐lions (low density beach 5·0–8·3% of all pups; high density beach 0·2%). Predation rates were lower at the high density beach because male fur seals expelled most attacking sea‐lions during the breeding season (low density beach 10·0% of attacking sea‐lions expelled; high density beach 58·8%).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-270
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Zoology
Volume226
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

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