Polar Biology

, Volume 35, Issue 11, pp 1767–1772 | Cite as

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

  • P. A. Pistorius
  • M. A. Meÿer
  • R. R. Reisinger
  • S. P. Kirkman
Short Note


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.


Population regulation Southern Ocean Apex predators Feeding ecology 



We would like to thank the Department of Environmental Affairs who provided logistic and financial support for the Prince Edward Island autumn survey. We are grateful for the insightful comments received from two anonymous reviewers.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. A. Pistorius
    • 1
  • M. A. Meÿer
    • 2
  • R. R. Reisinger
    • 3
  • S. P. Kirkman
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyNelson Mandela Metropolitan UniversityPort ElizabethSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Environmental AffairsOceans and CoastsRogge BaySouth Africa
  3. 3.Department of Zoology and Entomology, Mammal Research InstituteUniversity of PretoriaHatfieldSouth Africa
  4. 4.Animal Demography Unit, Department of ZoologyUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa

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