Advertisement

Polar Biology

, 29:905 | Cite as

Vagrant Antarctic pinnipeds at Gough Island

  • J. W. Wilson
  • M.-H. Burle
  • M. N. Bester
Short Note

Abstract

Opportunistic sightings of Antarctic fur seals Arctocephalus gazella and a leopard seal Hydrurga leptonyx at Gough Island (40°20′S, 09°54′W) in the South Atlantic Ocean represent the northernmost island records for vagrant Antarctic fur seals, and only the second for a vagrant leopard seal at Gough Island. Some ten different individual Antarctic fur seals were sighted on a single day, up to seven on a single beach. An overall total of 18 individuals were recorded over a 7-week period in October/November 2005, before the onset of the breeding (pupping) season of the resident population of Subantarctic fur seals Arctocephalus tropicalis. Most were immature, male and mostly in good condition (n = 11, 61%); one mature male and six putative females were also present. All had departed after 23 November, although only a fraction of the available beaches was searched.

Keywords

Beach Subadult Male Southern Elephant Seal Leopard Seal Antarctic Polar Front 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

Logistical support at Gough Island was provided by the South African Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism through the South African National Antarctic Programme. Financial support was obtained from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the University of Cape Town. Research at Gough Island is conducted with the permission of the Administrator and Island Council of Tristan da Cunha. Nico de Bruyn, Greg Hofmeyr and Peter Ryan commented on earlier drafts of the manuscript. The comments from two referees and the editor greatly improved the manuscript.

References

  1. Bester MN (1982) The effect of the Subantarctic environment on aspects of the terrestrial phase of fur seal populations. Com Nat fr Rech Antarctiques 51:469–478Google Scholar
  2. Bester MN (1987) Subantarctic fur seal Arctocephalus tropicalis at Gough Island (Tristan da Cunha Group). In: Croxall JP, Gentry RL (eds) Status, biology and ecology of fur seals. NOAA Technical Report NMFS 51:57–60Google Scholar
  3. Bester MN (1990) Population trends of Subantarctic fur seals and southern elephant seals at Gough Island. S Afr J Antarct Res 20:9–12Google Scholar
  4. Bester MN, Roux J-P (1986) Summer presence of leopard seals Hydrurga leptonyx at the Courbet Peninsula, Iles Kerguelen. S Afr J Antarct Res 16:29–32Google Scholar
  5. Bester MN, Erickson AW, Ferguson JWH (1995) Seasonal change in the distribution and density of seals in the pack ice off Princess Martha Coast, Antarctica. Antarct Sci 7:357–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Condy PR (1978) Distribution, abundance and annual cycle of fur seals (Arctocephalus spp.) on the Prince Edward Islands. S Afr J Wildl Res 8:159–168Google Scholar
  7. Drehmer CJ, De Oliveira LR (2000) Syncranial osteology of Arctocephalus gazella (Pinnipedia, Otariidae) from Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Iheringia Ser Zool 88:51–59Google Scholar
  8. Hofmeyr GJG, Krafft BA, Kirkman SP, Bester MN, Lydersen C, Kovacs KM (2005) Population change of Antarctic fur seals at Bouvetøya. Polar Biol 28:725–731CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hofmeyr GJG, Bester MN, Makhado AB, Pistorius PA (2006a) Population changes in Subantarctic and Antarctic fur seals at Marion Island. S Afr J Wildl Res 36:55–68Google Scholar
  10. Hofmeyr GJG, Kirkman SP, Bester MN (2006b) Vagrant Subantarctic fur seals at Bouvetøya. Afr Zool 41:145–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Jessopp MJ, Forcada J, Reid K, Trathan PN, Murphy EJ (2004) Winter dispersal of leopard seals (Hydrurga leptonyx): environmental factors influencing demographics and seasonal abundance. J Zool Lond 263:251–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. McCann S, Doidge B (1987) Antarctic fur seal, Arctocephalus gazella. In: Croxall JP, Gentry RL (eds) Status, biology and ecology of fur seals. NOAA Tech Rep NMFS 51:5–8Google Scholar
  13. Payne MR (1979) Fur seals Arctocephalus tropicalis and A. gazella crossing the Antarctic Convergence at South Georgia. Mammalia 43:93–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Rounsevell D, Eberhard I (1980) Leopard seals, Hydrurga leptonyx (Pinnipedia), at Macquarie Island from 1949 to 1979. Aust Wildl Res 7:403–415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. St Clair Hill M, Ferguson JWH, Bester MN, Kerley GIH (2001) Preliminary comparison of calls of the hybridising fur seals, Arctocephalus tropicalis and A. gazella. Afr Zool 36:45–53Google Scholar
  16. Wynen LP, Goldsworthy SD, Guinet C, Bester MN, Boyd IL, Gjertz I, Hofmeyr GJG, White RWG, Slade R (2000) Postsealing genetic variation and population structure of two species of fur seal (Arctocephalus gazella and A. tropicalis). Mol Ecol 9:299–314PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DST/NRF Centre of Excellence at the Percy FitzPatrick InstituteUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa
  2. 2.Royal Society for the Protection of BirdsBedfordshireUK
  3. 3.Mammal Research Institute, Department of Zoology and EntomologyUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations