Short Note

Polar Biology

, Volume 35, Issue 11, pp 1767-1772

Killer whale predation on subantarctic fur seals at Prince Edward Island, Southern Indian Ocean

  • P. A. PistoriusAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Email author 
  • , M. A. MeÿerAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental Affairs, Oceans and Coasts
  • , R. R. ReisingerAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology and Entomology, Mammal Research Institute, University of Pretoria
  • , S. P. KirkmanAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental Affairs, Oceans and CoastsAnimal Demography Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Cape Town

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Abstract

Killer whales at subantarctic Marion Island have been subjected to several scientific studies. In contrast, up until recently, there has been only one record of these animals documented for neighbouring Prince Edward Island. We here report on killer whale observations at Prince Edward Island during March 2012. During 3 days of opportunistic observations at a fur seal colony on the island, killer whales were sighted on six occasions. These probably represented three different pods numbering 11 individuals in total. During all sightings, individuals were seen hunting subantarctic fur seal pups, with four successful predatory events observed.

Keywords

Population regulation Southern Ocean Apex predators Feeding ecology