The size of Ross seal Ommatophoca rossii pups
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Ross seals Ommatophoca rossii breed in the Antarctic pack ice during November. There have been few studies of Ross seals during their breeding season because access in the pack ice is difficult then. The weight of Ross seal pups near birth has been reported rarely; estimates range from 16.8 to 27 kg. In November 1987, two pups were measured north of the Amery Ice Shelf near 65°S, 75°E, East Antarctica. One was considered to have been newborn because of its fleshy umbilicus, an after-birth on the ice floe and the absence of erupted teeth. It weighed 16.0 kg and had a standard length of 0.93 m. This is only the second report of a newborn Ross seal pup; both weights were between 16 and 17 kg.
KeywordsRoss seal Newborn pup East antarctica Pack ice
We thank the Director, Australian Antarctic Division for providing logistic support, and expeditioners who assisted in the field, particularly John Libke of CSIRO. This work was carried out under AAS project 69, undertaken under permits of the Commonwealth of Australia Antarctic Seals Conservation Regulations.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest
The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
The work was conducted under an animal ethics approval to PDS from the CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems Animal Ethics Committee. It was undertaken in accordance with guidelines for handling animals set out in the ‘Code of practice for the care and use of animals for experimental purposes’ published jointly by the (Australian) National Health and Medical Research Council, CSIRO and the Australian Agricultural Council.
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