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Fur seals: habitat preferences and human interaction

Fur Seals, Oceans and People

Fine scale movements of eleven adult male New Zealand fur seals and four adult male Australian fur seals were investigated using satellite linked fastloc GPS temperature depth recorders (2011-2013). Both species ranged widely but inshore terrestrial and marine habitat are important, particularly in winter and early spring. In late spring and summer seals moved to higher latitudes to breed. Seasonal variation in habitat use suggested greater potential for human-seal interactions during winter, when seals moved into areas close to highly populated coastal cities. Both terrestrial and marine protected areas can play a play a role in mitigating human seal interactions. In spring and summer, the seals traversed state and international borders with one seal going from Jervis Bay to New Zealand then back to southern Tasmania. Our study emphasises the relevance of inshore habitat for these seals, the possibility for improved zoning within current protected areas, and the need for national and international collaboration to manage wide-ranging marine fauna.

Project Partners

Taronga: Dr David Slip
Macquarie University: Professor Rob Harcourt, Mr Matt Carr
Phillip Island Nature Park: Dr Roger Kirkwood
Shoalhaven Veterinary Clinic: Dr Justin Clarke


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