New Zealand Fur SealThe New Zealand fur seal (Arctocephalus forsteri) is found in West Australia, South Australia and New Zealand. In Tasmanian waters, it mainly occurs on the west and south coasts. Only a small number of New Zealand fur seals breed on remote islands off the south coast. The total population in Tasmania is 350-450. About 100 pups are born annually. Like the Australian fur seal, not all pups will survive. Australia-wide, the population is estimated to be 58,000.
It is very difficult to tell the difference between the Australian fur seal and the New Zealand fur seal. The New Zealand fur seal is slightly smaller than the Australian fur seal and are best distinguished from this species by their much darker colouration. For more positive identification, a suite of other morphological and behavioural characteristics needs to be considered. These head shape, 'vibrissae' or whiskers, posture, terrestrial locomotion, vocalisations and thigmotactism or close physical contact.
The New Zealand fur seal's main prey includes Redbait and Jack Mackerel and myctophid species. Unlike the Australian fur seal, it also consumes seabirds such as Little Penguins and Shearwaters.
The species is listed as rare under the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 due to their low numbers. In Tasmania, the population may be as low as only several thousand and they have not re-populated traditional areas such as Bass Strait. Please see our Living with Wildlife and Threatened Species for further details.
Tasmania Online | Service Tasmania
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