Australian sea lion

The Australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea) also known as the Australian sea-lion or Australian sealion, is a species of sea lion that is the only endemic pinniped in Australia.[2] It is currently monotypic in the genus Neophoca, with the extinct Pleistocene New Zealand sea lion Neophoca palatina the only known congener.[3] These sea lions are sparsely distributed through Houtman Arbrolhos Islands (28°S., 114°E.) in Western Australia and The Pages Islands (35°46’S., 138°18’E) in Southern Australia. With a population estimated at around 14,730 animals, the Wildlife Conservation Act of Western Australia (1950) has listed them as “in need of special protection”. Their Conservation status is listed as endangered. These pinnipeds are specifically known for their abnormal breeding cycles, which are varied between 5 months breeding cycle and a 17-18 month aseasonal breeding cycle, compared to other pinnipeds which fit into a 12-month reproductive cycle.[2] Females are either silver or fawn with a cream underbelly and males are dark chocolate brown with a yellow mane and are bigger than the females.

Australian sea lion
Male with harem at Seal Bay Conservation Park on Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Male Australian sea lion with a harem at Seal Bay Conservation Park, Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Female with pup at Seal Bay Conservation Park on Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Female Australian sea lion with pup at Seal Bay Conservation Park, Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Clade: Pinnipedia
Family: Otariidae
Genus: Neophoca
Species:
N. cinerea
Binomial name
Neophoca cinerea
(Péron, 1816)
Australian Sea Lion area
Australian sea lion range

Phylogeny

Australian sea lion 02
Australian sea lions on the beach at the Seal Bay Conservation Park on Kangaroo Island, South Australia

The Australian sea lion is a pinniped, most closely related to other species of sea lions and fur seals making up the family Otariidae.[4] These mammals use their flippers to propel themselves in water and can walk on land with their flippers. Australian sea lions share distinct features with other sea lions. These include short fur, short flippers and a bulky body.[5]

Communication

Sea lion australia
An Australian sea lion vocalizing.

In pinnipeds, mothers and pups are frequently separated throughout nursing and are thus expected to have evolved an efficient individual recognition system. Consequentially, in Australian sea lions, as in many social mammals, mothers and their offspring can identify each other. Individual recognition produces mutual benefits by avoiding misdirected maternal care and therefore energy expenditure for mothers, and the risk of injury for young approaching unrelated, potentially dangerous, adult females. Individual recognition can be accomplished with a combination of several sensory modalities, including olfaction, vision, and audition. The use of olfactory cues as a close range recognition mechanism allows mothers to further confirm their pup's identity. In contrast to recent olfactory studies in pinnipeds which showed the presence but not a natural function of olfaction in pinnipeds, the present study shows that wild Australian sea lions use their olfactory abilities in a functional manner, by discrimination between the scents of their own offspring and a non-filial pup.[6] However, in a dynamic, crowded colony, the acoustic channel seems to be the most reliable modality. For pinnipeds, neither visual nor olfactory cues are likely to be the primary modality for mother–pup recognition.[7]

Male Australian sea lions were observed producing three different call types: a barking call, a bleating call and a female-like call. The predominant call type produced by males of all ages was the barking call. The barking call of Australian sea lions was similar in structure to the barking calls described in some other species of otariid in that it was a short sound produced repetitively in a series. Mature Australian sea lion males were found to emit the barking call in almost all social interactions, despite the existence of at least three call types in their vocal repertoire, plus a guttural threat and growl.[8]

Diet

Australian sea lions have been described as opportunistic, benthic foragers. Limited stomach content and faecal analyses have identified a wide variety of prey in the diet of the Australian sea lion, including teleost fish, squid, cuttlefish, octopus, sharks (including Port Jackson sharks), rock lobster, other small crustaceans and penguins. Regurgitate and stomach samples from Australian sea lions at Seal Bay contained hard parts consisting predominantly of benthic taxa. This supports previous evidence that this species forages primarily on neritic, benthic prey, many of which are non-migratory. For the cephalopod component of the Australian sea lion diet, octopus and giant cuttlefish made up the greatest biomass of prey taxa. Although the Australian sea lion feeds off seasonally available prey such as semelparous cephalopods, it also exploits prey species that are available throughout the year, such as rock lobster and many of the fish species.[9]

Breeding behavior

Sea Lion Mother & Cub - Pearson Island, Investigator Group Conservation Park, South Australia
Sea Lion Mother and Cub - Pearson Island, South Australia

Australian Sea lions breed on at least 50 islands, 27 in Western Australia and 23 in Southern Australia. Prior to a study that took place from 1987-1992, 31 of the 50 islands were undiscovered, as well as 19 more islands considered additional breeding grounds.[10] On the basis of surveys conducted primarily in 1990, about 70% of the population was in Southern Australia and 30% in Western-Australia.[11] Pup production was estimated at 2432 for these 50 islands in 1990. In 1994 and 1995 another 10 breeding colonies were recorded on the mainland in the Great Australian Bight region, only producing 161 pups.[11] Thus, reproduction is yielding less and less pups per breeding season. The four largest colonies, on The Pages Islands, at Seal Bay on Kangaroo Island, and at Dangerous Reef, produced 42% of the total pup numbers; they are at the eastern end of the range, east of Port Lincoln.[11]

The breeding cycle of the Australian sea lion is unusual within the pinniped family. It is a 17.6 to 18-month cycle and is 'not' synchronized between colonies. However, census data collected since 1973 shows that breeding events shift forward in time to 13.8 days earlier every 18 months.[12] The duration of the breeding season can range from five to seven months and has been recorded for up to nine months at Seal Bay on Kangaroo Island.

Bulls do not have fixed territories during the breeding season. The males fight other males from a very young age to establish their individual positions in the male hierarchy and during the breeding season, dominant males will guard females for the right to breed with her when she comes into oestrus. A female comes into season for about 24 hours within 7 to 10 days after she has given birth to her new pup. She will only look after the new pup and generally fights off the previous season's pup if it attempts to continue to suckle from her. Male Australian sea lions are also known to kill young as an act of defence of territory.

Australian sea lions also practice alloparental care, in which an adult may adopt the pup or pups of another. This might take place if the original parents die or are for some reason separated from them. This behavior is common and is seen in many other animal species such as the elephant and fathead minnow.[13]

Kangaroosealion
Sea lions on Kangaroo Island beach

Population status and protection measures

About 14,730 Australian sea lions remain.[14] This number is thought to be stable or slightly decreasing.[15] The Australian sea lion population is struggling due to their long and complicated breeding cycle, high site fidelity of females, and high mortality.

The transition for young mammals from dependence on milk to independent foraging can lead to increased mortality as well. The Australian sea lion demonstrates one of the longest lactation periods in pinnipeds and pups begin diving before they are weaned. Australian sea lion adults work hard to forage benthically, demonstrating high field metabolic rates, and spending 58% of time at sea diving and 35% of time at sea on or near the bottom. Juveniles spend 67% of time at sea diving and 44% of time at sea on or near the bottom. Although many air-breathing vertebrates dive well within their estimated limit of oxygen stores, Australian sea lion adults and juveniles appear to operate close to their physiological maximum. The prolonged dependency period could provide extensive opportunities for foraging lessons, while the extreme diving behavior required in the Australian sea lions' environment might necessitate it. Alternatively, it has hypothesized that female harbor seals accompanying pups demonstrate reduced foraging efficiency, and hence, the metabolic demands of foraging for Australian sea may preclude lactating females from performing suboptimal dives with their young. This becomes a preventative measure to maintain a population and avoid a complete extinction. However, as a result of small population size, small breeding colony size, low reproductive rate, exposure to human activities, and evidence of population declines in some areas, Australian sea lions have recently been listed as threatened and vulnerable.[16]

Sea lions were heavily hunted following European settlement, greatly reducing their numbers. Large-scale hunting ceased in the 1920s,[15] with harvesting being banned with the introduction of the South Australian National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 which prohibited a harvest.

The Australian sea lion was listed as vulnerable under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 in 2005 and is also listed as a threatened species in each state in its range (South Australia and Western Australia). On 11 June 2013, the Recovery Plan for the Australian Sea Lion (Neophoca cinerea) was adopted by the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. The plan considers the conservation requirements of the species across its range and identifies the actions to be taken to ensure its long-term viability in nature and the parties that will undertake those actions.[17][18]

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority Commission has also finalised the Australian Sea Lion Management Strategy which came into force on 30 June 2010 which includes closures of waters around colonies, seasonal closures, increased observation of sea lion activity and trials of modified fishing techniques and equipment. The strategy is designed to meet the commission's obligations under the Fisheries Management Act 1991 and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The strategy will significantly reduce the impact of fishing in the SESSF on Australian sea lions and enable the recovery of the species, including all subpopulations.[19]

Ecology

Neophoca cinerea P1101919
Australia sea lion off Pearson Island

Australian sea lions defecate nutrient-rich faeces which may provide an important nutrient source for coastal ecosystems. Metagenomic analysis of the bacterial consortia found in the faeces of Australian sea lions found very high levels of nutrient cycling and transport genes which may break down the nutrients defecated by sea lions into a bioavailable form for incorporation into marine food webs.[20]

Diving behaviors indicate that the Australian Sea Lions worked extremely hard to exploit the benefits of their surrounding habitats. The Australian sea lion exceeds the limit (calculated aerobic dive limit) on 79% of dives. Australian sea lions spend 58% of time at sea diving and demonstrate high field metabolism,[21] which allows the sea lions to maximize their time spent at or near the benthos, with 61% of each dive and 35% of their time at sea being spent at the deepest 20% of the dives.[22] When diving, these animals are spending 57.9% of their time at sea spent at depths greater than or equal to 6 m, which can be considered as continuous diving.[22] Seasonal variability in foraging energetics and dive behavior is likely to be sensitive to regional oceanography, the maintenance costs of female sea lions and their offspring, and the distribution and behavior of their prey.

Australian sea lions live on sand beaches and smooth rocks on island offshore of the Australian Coast.[23] Australian sea lions tend to live on islands between Pages Island in the south coast of Australia and Houtman Adbrolhos island west coast of Australia. Australian sea lions predominantly are on Kangaroo island.[24] These sea lions are non-migratory mammals that live on the coastal land of western and southern Australia.[25] These sea lions live around their birthplace and are at most 300 km away from their birthplace. Also Australian sea lions travel inward on land during tumultuous weather. Sea lions are known to travel up to 9.4 km inland. Australian sea lions biographical range from the Indian and Pacific Ocean.[26]

References

  1. ^ Goldsworthy, S. & Gales, N. (2008). "Neophoca cinerea". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 30 January 2009. Listed as Endangered (EN A2bd+3d)
  2. ^ a b Gales, NJ; Cheal, AJ; Pobar, GJ; Williamson, P (1992-01-01). "Breeding biology and movements of Australian sea lions, Neophoca cinerea, off the west coasst of Western Australia". Wildlife Research. 19 (4): 405–415. doi:10.1071/wr9920405.
  3. ^ Churchill, Morgan; Boessenecker, Robert W. (16 June 2016). "Taxonomy and biogeography of the Pleistocene New Zealand sea lion Neophoca palatina (Carnivora: Otariidae)". Journal of Paleontology. 90 (2): 375–388. doi:10.1017/jpa.2016.15.
  4. ^ Scheffer, Victor B. (1958-01-01). Seals, Sea Lions, and Walruses: A Review of the Pinnipedia. Stanford University Press. ISBN 9780804705448.
  5. ^ Shaughnessy, Peter (2009-01-17). "Australian sea lions Neophoca cinerea at colonies in South Australia: distribution and abundance, 2004 to 2008" (PDF). Endangered Species Research. 13 (2): 87–98. doi:10.3354/esr00317. Retrieved 2015-08-29.
  6. ^ Pitcher, Benjamin J.; Harcourt, Robert G.; Schaal, Benoist; Charrier, Isabelle (2011-02-23). "Social olfaction in marine mammals: wild female Australian sea lions can identify their pup's scent". Biology Letters. 7 (1): 60–62. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2010.0569. ISSN 1744-9561. PMC 3030890. PMID 20685695.
  7. ^ Charrier, Isabelle; Harcourt, Robert G. (2006-10-17). "Individual Vocal Identity in Mother and Pup Australian Sea Lions (Neophoca cinerea)". Journal of Mammalogy. 87 (5): 929–938. doi:10.1644/05-MAMM-A-344R3.1. ISSN 0022-2372.
  8. ^ Gwilliam, Jessica; Charrier, Isabelle; Harcourt, Robert G. (2008-07-15). "Vocal identity and species recognition in male Australian sea lions, Neophoca cinerea". Journal of Experimental Biology. 211 (14): 2288–2295. doi:10.1242/jeb.013185. ISSN 0022-0949. PMID 18587123.
  9. ^ McIntosh, Rebecca R.; Page, Brad; Goldsworthy, Simon D. (2006-12-19). "Dietary analysis of regurgitates and stomach samples from free-living Australian sea lions". Wildlife Research. 33 (8): 661. doi:10.1071/WR06025. Retrieved 2015-10-30.
  10. ^ Gales, N. J.; Shaughnessy, P. D.; Dennis, T. E. (1994-11-01). "Distribution, abundance and breeding cycle of the Australian sea lion Neophoca cinerea (Mammalia: Pinnipedia)". Journal of Zoology. 234 (3): 353–370. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.1994.tb04853.x. ISSN 1469-7998.
  11. ^ a b c Shaughnessy, P.D.; Dennis, T.E.; Seager, P.G. (2005-01-01). "Status of Australian sea lions, Neophoca cinerea, and New Zealand fur seals, Arctocephalus forsteri, on Eyre Peninsula and the far west coast of South Australia". Wildlife Research. 32 (1): 85–101. doi:10.1071/wr03068.
  12. ^ Higgins, Lesley V. (1993-05-21). "The Nonannual, Nonseasonal Breeding Cycle of the Australian Sea Lion, Neophoca cinerea". Journal of Mammalogy. 74 (2): 270–274. doi:10.2307/1382381. ISSN 0022-2372. JSTOR 1382381.
  13. ^ Riedman, Marianne L. (December 1982). “The Evolution of Alloparental Care in Mammals and Birds”. The Quarterly Review of Biology 57 (4): 405-435
  14. ^ "Wildlife as Canon Sees It". National Geographic Magazine. 218 (6). December 2010. Surviving number: Estimated at 14,730
  15. ^ a b "Neophoca cinerea — Australian Sea-lion, Australian Sea Lion".
  16. ^ "Web of Science [v.5.19] - All Databases Full Record". apps.webofknowledge.com. Retrieved 2015-10-30.
  17. ^ "Recovery Plan for the Australian Sea Lion (Neophoca cinerea) 2013 Gazette - C2013G01027". Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  18. ^ "Recovery Plan for the Australian Sea Lion (Neophoca cinerea)". Commonwealth of Australia, Department for the Environment. 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  19. ^ "Australian Sea Lion Management Strategy and SESSF Closure Direction No. 3". Australian Fisheries Management Authority Commission. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  20. ^ Lavery TJ et al. 2012. High nutrient transport and cycling potential revealed in the microbial metagenome of Australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea) faeces. PLoS One 7(5): e36478. doi:10.1371.journal.pone.0036478
  21. ^ Fowler, Shannon L.; Costa, Daniel P.; Arnould, John P. Y.; Gales, Nicholas J.; Kuhn, Carey E. (2006-03-01). "Ontogeny of diving behaviour in the Australian sea lion: trials of adolescence in a late bloomer". Journal of Animal Ecology. 75 (2): 358–367. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2656.2006.01055.x. ISSN 1365-2656. PMID 16637989.
  22. ^ a b Costa, Daniel P.; Gales, Nicholas J. (2003-02-01). "Energetics of a Benthic Diver: Seasonal Foraging Ecology of the Australian Sea Lion, Neophoca cinerea". Ecological Monographs. 73 (1): 27–43. doi:10.1890/0012-9615(2003)073[0027:eoabds]2.0.co;2. JSTOR 3100073.
  23. ^ "Neophoca cinerea (Australian sea lion)". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 2015-10-30.
  24. ^ "Web of Science [v.5.19] - All Databases Full Record" (PDF). apps.webofknowledge.com. Retrieved 2015-10-30.
  25. ^ Shaughnessy, Peter (2009-01-17). "Australian sea lions Neophoca cinerea at colonies in South Australia: distribution and abundance, 2004 to 2008" (PDF). Endangered Species Research. 13 (2): 87–98. doi:10.3354/esr00317. Retrieved 2015-08-28.
  26. ^ Hoglund, Kara. "Neophoca cinerea Australian sea lion". Animal Diversity Web. Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 2015-08-28.

Further reading

  • Shannon Leone Fowler (2005). Ontogeny of diving in the Australian sea lion. Ph.D. thesis. University of California, Santa Cruz.
  • Randall R. Reeves; Brent S. Stewart; Phillip J. Clapham; James A. Powell (2002). National Audubon Society Guide to Marine Mammals of the World. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. ISBN 0375411410.
Avoid Bay Islands Conservation Park

The Avoid Bay Islands Conservation Park is a protected area in the Australian state of South Australia occupying three islands located west-southwest of Coffin Bay of Eyre Peninsula. The group, which includes Black Rocks and Sudden Jerk Island (also known as Avoid Island), supports breeding populations of seabirds and marine mammals. Colonies of the endangered Australian Sea-lion (Neophoca cinerea) and protected New Zealand Fur-seal (Arctocephalus forsteri) occur on some of these islands.

The conservation park is classified as an IUCN Category Ia protected area.

Bales Beach Aquatic Reserve

Bales Beach Aquatic Reserve is a marine protected area in the Australian state of South Australia located in waters off the south coast of Kangaroo Island immediately adjoining and including the intertidal zone within the locality of Seal Bay whose full extent is occupied by the Seal Bay Conservation Park.It was declared after 1971 for the purpose of ‘the protection of a major breeding colony of the Australian sea lion’. The collection or the removal of any marine organism is prohibited within the reserve. The aquatic reserve which immediately adjoins the Seal Bay Aquatic Reserve extents eastward for a distance of about 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) Bay and also extends seaward a distance of about 1 nautical mile (1.9 km; 1.2 mi). It has an area of 7.3 square kilometres (2.8 square miles). While it is managed in conjunction with the Seal Bay Aquatic Reserve, it was gazetted as a separate aquatic reserve.Since 2012, it has been located within the boundaries of a “habitat protection zone” within the Southern Kangaroo Island Marine Park.The aquatic reserve is classified as an IUCN Category II protected area.

Cap Island Conservation Park

Cap Island Conservation Park is located 7.5 km offshore, west of Mount Misery, Eyre Peninsula. The park covers Cap Island's 8ha surface. The island consists of a granite base and a calcarenite mantle; its margins steeply over-hanging and eroded. Typical vegetation is a low Nitre Bush (Nitraria billardierei) shrubland. Cap Island Conservation Park was constituted by statute in 1972 to conserve a sea bird breeding area and Australian Sea-lion (Neophoca cinerea) and New Zealand Fur-seal (Arctocephalus forsteri) haul-out areas.Cap Island also bears the alternative name of Gap Island and historically was also known as Rocky Island.

Gambier Islands Conservation Park

Gambier Islands Conservation Park is a protected area associated with the Gambier Islands Group which is located in the middle of the mouth of Spencer Gulf in South Australia about 71 kilometres (44 miles) south east of Port Lincoln. The conservation park consists of the following islands from within the group - North Island, South West Rock and Peaked Rocks. Wedge Island is not included in the conservation park. The land which now comprises the conservation park was previously declared as Fauna Reserves in March 1967 under the Fauna Conservation Act 1964 and was re-proclaimed in 1972 under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972. The area under protection is considered significant for the following reasons: 'a group of small islands utilised by seabirds and the Australian sea lion' and the 'North Island supports a population of the southern bush rat (RATTUS FUSCIPES).' The conservation park is classified as an IUCN Category Ia protected area.

Goose Island Conservation Park

Goose Island Conservation Park is a protected area in the Australian state of South Australia, located on Goose Island and other islets in the vicinity of Wardang Island in Spencer Gulf. The constituent islands are located within 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) to 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) in the sector between west and north west of Port Victoria.The conservation park was proclaimed in 1972 to ‘conserve an offshore breeding and refuge area for sea-birds and the Australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea).’ The conservation park consists of the following islands: Goose Island, Little Goose Island, Seal Rocks and White Rocks located to the immediate north of Wardang Island with Beatrice Rock, Island Point and Rocky Island all located to the east of Wardang Island, and Boat Rock and Bikini Islets being located on the west side of Wardang Island.The conservation park is classified as an IUCN Category III protected area.

Great Australian Bight Marine National Park

Great Australian Bight Marine National Park is a marine protected area in the Australian state of South Australia located 918 km (570 mi) west of the state capital of Adelaide. The national park was proclaimed under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (SA) by the South Australian Government on 26 September 1996 principally to protect the calving waters of the Southern right whale and the Australian sea lion populations. It consists of two sections occupying the ocean immediately adjoining the coastline up to a distance of 3 nautical miles (5.6 km; 3.5 mi) and extending from the Western Australia border in the west to a locality known as the Tchalingaby Sandhills in the east. The gap between the two sections is also a protected area known as the Great Australian Bight Marine Park Whale Sanctuary which was proclaimed on 22 June 1995 under the Fisheries Act 1982 (SA). The national park is also part of the group of marine protected areas which are located together in waters within Australian and South Australian jurisdictions within the Great Australian Bight and which is collectively known as the Great Australian Bight Marine Park. Since late 2012, the national park and the whale sanctuary have also been within the boundaries of the Far West Coast Marine Park.The national park is classified as an IUCN category II protected area.

Greenly Island Conservation Park

Greenly Island Conservation Park is a protected area associated with Greenly Island located off the west coast of Eyre Peninsula in South Australia about 70 kilometres (43 miles) west of Coffin Bay. It was declared in 1972 under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 ‘to protect the island’s delicate ecology and Australian Sea-lion and New Zealand Fur-seal haul-out areas’ and continuing protected area status for the island which was first declared in 1919. The conservation park is classified as an IUCN Category Ia protected area.

Investigator Group Wilderness Protection Area

Investigator Group Wilderness Protection Area is a protected area in the Australian state of South Australia located in the Investigator Group of islands off the west coast of Eyre Peninsula in between 25 kilometres (16 miles) to 70 kilometres (43 miles) south-west of Elliston. It was proclaimed in August 2011 under the Wilderness Protection Act 1992 in order to protect ‘important haul-out areas for the Australian sea lion and New Zealand fur seal’ and habitat for species such as White-faced storm petrels, Cape Barren geese and mutton birds and the Pearson Island black-footed rock-wallaby. The wilderness protection area was created from land excised from the Investigator Group Conservation Park. It consists of the Ward Islands, the Top Gallant Isles, and the Pearson Isles which consist of Dorothee Island, Pearson Island and Veteran Isles with exception of a portion of land on Pearson Island which is held by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority for ‘lighthouse purposes’. The Wilderness Protection Area is classified as an IUCN Category Ib protected area.

Isles of St Francis Conservation Park

Isles of St Francis Conservation Park was a protected area in the Australian state of South Australia located on islands within the Isles of St Francis off the west coast of Eyre Peninsula about 562 kilometres (349 mi) north-west of the state capital of Adelaide and about 50 kilometres (31 mi) south-west of the town of Ceduna.The conservation park consisted of land on ten (sic) islands within the Isles of St Francis which form the south-westerly extension of the Nuyts Archipelago.The land first received protected area status as a pair of fauna conservation reserves proclaimed on 16 March 1967 under the Crown Lands Act 1929 in respect to Freeling Island and Smooth Island. Additional fauna conservation reserves were proclaimed on 4 November 1967 in respect to Dog Island, Egg Island, Fenelon Island, Hart Island, Masillon Island, West Island and all of St Francis Island with exception to section 220 which had been acquired by the Australian government. On 27 April 1972, all of the land proclaimed as fauna conservation reserves was reconstituted as the Isles of St Francis Conservation Park under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972. On 19 December 1991, additional land was added to the conservation park to extend protection over land located between high tide and low tide. As of 2010, the conservation park covered an area of 12.36 square kilometres (4.77 sq mi).On 25 August 2011, all of the land within the conservation park was constituted as part of the Nuyts Archipelago Wilderness Protection Area with the result that the conservation park ceased to exist.In 1980, the conservation park was described as follows:

St Francis Island is the site of a reintroduction program for the endangered brush tailed bettong (Bettongia penicillata), which became extinct on the island in the early 1900s. St Francis Island is also one of only two islands in South Australia which has a population of the vulnerable southern brown bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus). This island also supports a population of the carpet snake (Morelia spilota), which is vulnerable in South Australia and in decline throughout its mainland range. Several rare or uncommon bird species breed on the Isles, including Cape Barren goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae), the second rarest goose species in the world and the banded rail (Rallus philippensis). Significant breeding colonies of Australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea), one of the rarest marine mammals in the world, occur on Fenelon and West Islands… St Francis granite formation outcrops on eastern St Francis Island and this is a type locality… The Isles also support a large breeding population of short tailed shearwaters (Puffinus tenuirostris). New Zealand fur seals (Arctocephalus forsteri) breed on Fenelon Island...

This group of nine islands lies off the coast of South Australia near Ceduna, beyond the Nuyts Archipelago group of islands. The total area covered by the group is 1,312 ha, the largest islands in the group being St Francis Island (809ha), Masillon Island (202 ha) and Egg, Dog and West Islands (all 60 ha in area). The islands consist of limestone and sand over granite bases. Nuyts Volcanics formation outcrops on western St Francis Island, and St Francis Granite formation outcrops on eastern St Francis Island. Both are considered geological monuments. The vegetation on the larger islands consists mostly of coast saltbush (Atriplex cinerea) shrubland on the low-lying areas, with grassland and scattered low shrubs covering the remainder. Populations of bush rat (Rattus fuscipes) occur on Dog and Masillon Islands. St Francis is also the site of a breeding population of short-tailed shearwaters (Puffinus tenuirostris). Other birds which breed on the Isles include Cape Barren goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae), banded rail (Rallus philippensis), rock parrot (Neophema petrophila) and little penguin (Eudyptula minor). Significant breeding colonies of Australian sea-lion (Neophoca cinerea) occur on Fenelon and West Islands and New Zealand fur seals (Arctocephalus forsteri) breed on Fenelon Island…

For most of these islands, pastoral leases have been held since the late 1800s. St Francis Island is the most disturbed of the group, a large part of it having been cleared and the whole island grazed by sheep, but the vegetation is now recovering. Introduced plants are common on St Francis Island. The remaining islands are in their natural state.

The conservation park was classified in 2010 as being an IUCN Category Ia protected area. In 1980, it was listed on the now-defunct Register of the National Estate.

Neophoca

Neophoca is a genus of the family Otariidae (sea lions and fur seals) of order Carnivora. It is combined by some taxonomists with the genus Phocarctos, the (extant) New Zealand sea lion. Only one species survives:

N. cinerea: Australian sea lion. Most subpopulations are small and genetically isolated.Extinct species:

N. palatina, known from a skull found in New Zealand

Nicolas Baudin Island Conservation Park

Nicolas Baudin Island Conservation Park is a protected area associated with Nicolas Baudin Island which is located off Cape Blanche on the west coast of Eyre Peninsula in South Australia about 30 kilometres (19 miles) south of Streaky Bay. The conservation park was proclaimed in 2003 under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 to ‘protect a significant breeding location for the Australian sea lion.’Nicolas Baudin Island's significance is argued as follows:

Recent research has confirmed that the park is of great importance as a breeding colony for a large population of Australian sea lions and is considered important in the association of sea-lions and New Zealand fur seals living side by side. South of the park, Point Labatt is the site of the largest mainland breeding colony of Australian sea lions, thought to interact heavily with the Nicolas Baudin Island colony.

Its extent includes the island with an area of about 10 hectares (25 acres) and adjoining seabed with a total area of 94 hectares (230 acres). Part of the conservation park were declared as a prohibited area at the day of establishment to prevent any disturbance of the breeding cycle of the Australian sea lion and New Zealand fur seal population.The conservation park including its marine zone is classified as an IUCN Category Ia protected area.

Nuyts Reef Conservation Park

Nuyts Reef Conservation Park is a protected area in the Australian state of South Australia associated with Nuyts Reef which is located off the state's west coast in the Great Australian Bight about 29 kilometres (18 miles) west south-west of Fowlers Bay.The land forming the conservation park was declared as Fauna Conservation Reserve on 16 March 1967 This was reconstituted as Nuyts Reef Conservation Park on 27 April 1972 under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 to "conserve Australian sea lion breeding habitat." On 19 December 1991, additional land was added to the conservation park to extend protection over land located between high tide and low tide. As of 2018, it covered an area of 47 hectares (120 acres).In 1980, the conservation park was described as follows:

A group of five small reefs supporting an Australian sea lion colony and providing breeding habitat for seabirds... Five small granite reefs and rocks, some of which are swept by storm waves. The Reefs are without vegetative cover... Isolation and the absence of introduced species has ensured habitat preservation.

The conservation park including its marine zone is classified as an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Category Ia protected area. In 1980, it was listed on the now-defunct Register of the National Estate.

Olive Island Conservation Park

Olive Island Conservation Park is a protected area in the Australian state of South Australia associated with Olive Island off the west coast of Eyre Peninsula and which is located about 25 kilometres (16 miles) west-northwest of the town of Streaky Bay.The land under protection was declared as a fauna conservation reserve under the Crown Lands Act 1929 on 16 March 1967. The fauna conservation reserve was re-proclaimed as the Olive Island Conservation Park in 1972 under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 on 27 April 1972 to ‘conserve a significant Australian sea lion breeding habitat.’ On 19 December 1991, additional land was added to the conservation park. As of 2018, it covered an area of 21 hectares (52 acres).The conservation park is classified as an IUCN Category Ia protected area. In 1980, the conservation park was listed on the former Register of the National Estate.

Recherche Archipelago

The Archipelago of the Recherche, known locally as the Bay of Isles, is a group of 105 islands, and over 1200 "obstacles to shipping", off the south coast of Western Australia. The islands stretch 230 km (140 mi) from east to west and to 50 km (31 mi) off-shore encompassing an area of approximately 4,000 square kilometres (1,544 sq mi).

The western group is near Esperance and the eastern group at Israelite Bay. They are located in coastal and inland waters, part of which is designated the Recherche Archipelago Nature Reserve.

Seal Bay Aquatic Reserve

Seal Bay Aquatic Reserve is a marine protected area in the Australian state of South Australia located in waters off the south coast of Kangaroo Island immediately adjoining and including the intertidal zone within the locality of Seal Bay which is also part of the Seal Bay Conservation Park.It was declared on 30 November 1971 as the Seal Beach Aquatic Reserve for the purpose of ‘the protection of a major breeding colony of the Australian sea lion’. The following activities are prohibited in the aquatic reserve - access to waters adjoining Seal Bay by members of the public, fishing, and the collection or the removal of any marine organism. The aquatic reserve covers the full extent of the coastal frontage of Seal Bay and extends seaward a distance of about 1 nautical mile (1.9 km; 1.2 mi) covering an area of 4.04 square kilometres (1.56 square miles). Its extent includes the waters around Nobby Islet. It is bounded by the Bales Beach Aquatic Reserve to its immediate east.Since 2012, it has been located within the boundaries of a “restricted access zone” within the Southern Kangaroo Island Marine Park.The aquatic reserve is classified as an IUCN Category Ia protected area.

Seal Bay Conservation Park

Seal Bay Conservation Park is a protected area located on the south coast of Kangaroo Island in the Australian state of South Australia. It is the home of the third largest Australian sea lion colony in Australia.It is one of the most popular tourist destinations on Kangaroo Island. In order to protect the colony, visitors are only allowed on the beach by paying to go on a guided tour.

Sinclair Island Conservation Park

Sinclair Island Conservation Park is a protected area in the Australian state of South Australia associated with Sinclair Island which is located off the west coast of Eyre Peninsula about 24 kilometres (15 miles) south of Penong. The conservation park which was declared as Fauna Conservation Reserve in March 1967, was re-proclaimed in 1972 under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 to ‘conserve island habitat and protect Australian sea lion haul-out areas.’The conservation park is classified as an IUCN Category IA protected area.

Waldegrave Islands

Waldegrave Islands is an island group in the Australian state of South Australia located in the Investigator Group about 2.5 kilometres (1.6 miles) northwest by west of Cape Finniss on the west coast of Eyre Peninsula. The group consists of Waldegrave Island, Little Waldegrave Island and according to some sources, a pair of rocks known as the Watchers. The group is notable as a breeding site for Australian sea lions and Cape Barren geese. The group has enjoyed protected area status since the 1960s and as of 1972 has been part of the Waldegrave Islands Conservation Park.

Whidbey Isles Conservation Park

The Whidbey Isles Conservation Park is a protected area in the Australian state of South Australia which consists of seven islands located west-southwest of Coffin Bay, lower Eyre Peninsula. The group, which includes the Four Hummocks group, Perforated Island, Price Island and Golden Island, supports breeding populations of seabirds and marine mammals. Colonies of the endangered Australian Sea-lion (Neophoca cinerea) and protected New Zealand Fur-seal (Arctocephalus forsteri) occur on some of these islands. The conservation park is classified as an IUCN Category Ia protected area.

Extant Carnivora species

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