|Galápagos fur seal|
|Male, Santiago Island|
|Galápagos fur seal range|
Galápagos fur seals are the smallest of otariids. They have a grayish brown fur coat. The adult males of the species average 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) in length and 64 kg (141 lb) in mass. The females average 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in) in length and 28 kg (62 lb) in mass. They spend more time out of the water than almost any other seal. On average, 70% of their time is spent on land. Most seal species spend 50% of their time on land and 50% in the water.
The Galápagos fur seal is endemic to the Galápagos Islands, with a single colony in northern Peru, according to the Organisation for Research and Conservation of Aquatic Animals; they live on the rocky shores of the islands, which tend to be on the west sides, leaving only to feed.
Galápagos fur seals live in large colonies on the rocky shores. These colonies are then divided into territories by the female seals during breeding season, which is mid-August to mid-November. Every mother seal claims a territory for herself and breeds her pup there.
Galápagos fur seals have the lowest reproductive rate reported in seals, and it takes an unusually long time to raise seal pups to independence. Females bear only one pup at a time, and she remains with her newborn for a week before leaving to feed. She then periodically returns to the pup and stays to suckle it for a few days before leaving on another hunting trip. Females recognize their own pups by smell and sound, and pups also learn to identify their mothers by the females’ "pup attraction calls". Mother-pup recognition is crucial because females exclusively nurse their own pups, often violently rejecting strange pups that approach. Orphaned seal pups usually try to sneak up on sleeping or calling females to suckle, but stealing milk is not enough to sustain the pups, and they usually die within a month.
Fur seal pups rely on their mother’s milk for the first eighteen months, and weaning may be delayed for up to two or three years if conditions are poor. The result is that every year up to 23% of pups are born when an older sibling is still suckling. Survival of the younger sibling greatly depends on the availability of resources. In years when there is abundant food, the mortality rate of second pups is as low as 5%, which is equivalent to the mortality rate of pups without siblings. In years when food is scarce, 80% of pups with suckling older siblings die within a month. The younger sibling thus serves as an insurance in case the first sibling dies, and also provides extra reproductive value in case conditions prove better than expected. Such a bet-hedging strategy is particularly useful in Galapagos fur seals, since there is a great deal of maternal investment in raising a seal pup to independence in an environment that has great fluctuations in food.
The high level of resource uncertainty, late weaning, and potential overlap time of suckling young all lead to violent sibling rivalry and provide a good environment for studying parent-offspring conflict. From an offspring’s point of view, it would be most beneficial to continue suckling and receive more than its fair share of milk, but to the mother seal, it would pay to wean the older, more independent offspring in order to invest in the next pup. Thus, studies show that 75% of mothers intervened, often aggressively, when the older sibling harassed the newborn pups. Mothers would bite or lift the older offspring roughly by its skin, which sometimes caused open wounds. Maternal aggression towards the older sibling diminishes with time after the second sibling’s birth. Even without direct aggression, older siblings may still indirectly harm their younger siblings by outcompeting them for milk. The older offspring usually suckles first and allows their younger sibling access to the mother only after it is satiated, resulting in very little milk left over for the younger pup. Thus, the younger siblings often die from starvation.
During periods when there is very little prey, interbrood conflict increases. Galapagos fur seal population is drastically affected by El Niño, a period accompanied by high water temperatures and a deepening thermocline. Food becomes scarce during El Niño, and thus older seals exhibit an intense aversion to weaning, causing the mother seal to neglect the younger sibling.
The Galápagos fur seal feeds primarily on fish, squid and shellfish. They feed relatively close to shore and near the surface, but have been seen at depths of 169 m (554 ft). They primarily feed at night because their prey is much easier to catch then. During normal years, food is relatively plentiful. However, during an El Niño year, there can be fierce competition for food, and many young pups die during these years. The adult seals feed themselves before their young and during particularly rough El Niño years, most of the young seal populations will die.
The Galápagos fur seal has virtually no constant predators. Occasionally, sharks and orcas have been seen feeding on the seals, but this is very rare. Sharks and orcas are the main predator of most other seal species, but their migration paths do not usually pass the Galápagos.
Galápagos fur seals have had a declining population since the 19th century. Thousands of these seals were killed for their fur in the 1800s by poachers. Starting in 1959, Ecuador established strict laws to protect these animals. The government of Ecuador declared the Galápagos Islands a national park, and since then no major poaching has occurred. Despite the laws, another tragic blow to their population occurred during the 1982–1983 El Niño weather event. Almost all of the seal pups died, and about 30% of the adult population was wiped out.
The population is relatively stable now and is on the rise. Since 1983 no major calamity has occurred to decrease their population significantly.
The genus Arctocephalus consists of fur seals. Arctocephalus translates to "bear head."Asiatic linsang
The Asiatic linsang (Prionodon) is a genus comprising two species native to Southeast Asia: the banded linsang (Prionodon linsang) and the spotted linsang (Prionodon pardicolor). Prionodon is considered a sister taxon of the Felidae.Catopuma
Catopuma is a genus containing two Asian small wild cat species, the Asian golden cat (C. temminckii) and the bay cat (C. badia).
Both are typically reddish brown in colour, with darker markings on the head.The two species diverged from one another 4.9-5.3 million years ago, long before Borneo separated from the neighboring islands. Their closest living relative is the marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata), from which the common ancestor of the genus Catopuma diverged around 9.4 million years ago.Eared seal
An eared seal or otariid or otary is any member of the marine mammal family Otariidae, one of three groupings of pinnipeds. They comprise 15 extant species in seven genera (another species became extinct in the 1950s) and are commonly known either as sea lions or fur seals, distinct from true seals (phocids) and the walrus (odobenids). Otariids are adapted to a semiaquatic lifestyle, feeding and migrating in the water, but breeding and resting on land or ice. They reside in subpolar, temperate, and equatorial waters throughout the Pacific and Southern Oceans and the southern Indian and Atlantic Oceans. They are conspicuously absent in the north Atlantic.
The words 'otariid' and 'otary' come from the Greek otarion meaning "little ear", referring to the small but visible external ear flaps (pinnae), which distinguishes them from the phocids.Egyptian weasel
The Egyptian weasel (Mustela subpalmata) is a species of weasel that lives in northern Egypt. It is rated "Least Concern" by the IUCN Red List.Ferret-badger
Ferret-badgers are the five species of the genus Melogale, which is the only genus of the monotypic mustelid subfamily Helictidinae.
Bornean ferret-badger (Melogale everetti)
Chinese ferret-badger (Melogale moschata)
Javan ferret-badger (Melogale orientalis)
Burmese ferret-badger (Melogale personata)
Vietnam ferret-badger (Melogale cucphuongensis)Fur seal
Fur seals are any of nine species of pinnipeds belonging to the subfamily Arctocephalinae in the family Otariidae. They are much more closely related to sea lions than true seals, and share with them external ears (pinnae), relatively long and muscular foreflippers, and the ability to walk on all fours. They are marked by their dense underfur, which made them a long-time object of commercial hunting. Eight species belong to the genus Arctocephalus and are found primarily in the Southern Hemisphere, while a ninth species also sometimes called fur seal, the northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus), belongs to a different genus and inhabits the North Pacific.Haussa genet
The Haussa genet (Genetta thierryi) is a genet species native to West African savannas. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.Haussa genets have been sighted in Senegal's wooded steppes, in moist woodlands in Guinea-Bissau, and in rainforest in Sierra Leone, Ghana and Ivory Coast.Juan Fernández fur seal
The Juan Fernández fur seal is the second smallest of the fur seals, second only to the Galápagos fur seal. They are found only on the Pacific Coast of South America, more specifically on the Juan Fernández Islands and the Desventuradas Islands. There is still much that is unknown about this species. Scientists still do not know the average life span of this species, or the diet and behavior of males apart from the breeding season.List of animals in the Galápagos Islands
This is a list of animals that live in the Galápagos Islands.Long-nosed mongoose
The long-nosed mongoose (Herpestes naso) is a mongoose native to Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania.Lontra
Lontra is a genus of otters from the Americas.Lutrogale
Lutrogale is a genus of otters, with only one extant species—the smooth-coated otter.Mephitis (genus)
The genus Mephitis is one of several genera of skunks, which has two species and a North American distribution.Nyctereutes
Nyctereutes is an Old World genus of the family Canidae, consisting of just one living species, the raccoon dog of East Asia. Nyctereutes appeared about 9.0 million years ago (Mya), with all but one species becoming extinct before the Pleistocene.
Native to East Asia, the raccoon dog has been intensively bred for fur in Europe and especially in Russia during the twentieth century. Specimens have escaped or have been introduced to increase production and formed populations in Eastern Europe. It is currently expanding rapidly in the rest of Europe, where its presence is undesirable because it is considered to be a harmful and invasive species.Paradoxurus
Paradoxurus is a genus within the viverrid family that was denominated and first described by Frédéric Cuvier in 1822. As of 2005, this genus was defined as comprising three species native to Southeast Asia:
the Asian palm civet (P. hermaphroditus)
the golden palm civet (P. zeylonensis)
the brown palm civet (P. jerdoni)In 2009, it was proposed to also include the golden wet-zone palm civet (P. aureus), the Sri Lankan brown palm civet (P. montanus) and the golden dry-zone palm civet (P. stenocephalus), which are endemic to Sri Lanka.West African oyan
The West African oyan (Poiana leightoni), also known as the West African linsang, is a linsang species native to the Upper Guinean forests in West Africa.
It is one of the least known small carnivores in Africa.Western lowland olingo
The western lowland olingo (Bassaricyon medius) is a species of olingo from Central and South America, where it is known from Panama and from Colombia and Ecuador west of the Andes.
Extant Carnivora species