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.
|Juan Fernández fur seal|
|Juan Fernández fur seal range|
The Juan Fernandez fur seal is part of the group of eared seals. Fur seals in general have thick insulating fur that protects the skin from cold water, they have small ear flaps on the side of their head, and they hold their weight on their front flippers which are also used for land locomotion. Fur seals are different from true seals because they have the external ear flaps, but also true seals use their chest for support and movement, fur seals walk on their front flippers.
The Juan Fernandez fur seal is the second smallest fur seal, second only to the Galápagos fur seal. Their bodies are short and robust with brown pelage. Both the fore flippers and the hind flippers are relatively short, and the hind flippers have fleshy tips on the digits. Females are lighter brown and average 100 pounds and 4'6" long. Males are significantly larger and average 300 pounds and 6'6" in length. Males have thicker necks than females and have generally darker brown pelage. Male seals have golden tipped thick guard hairs on the back of the head, neck, and shoulders. This seal species has a trait called sexual dimorphism, meaning the males look much different from the females after reaching sexual maturity.
The Juan Fernández fur seal was discovered, and named by Juan Fernández in the mid 1500s. Once the seal was discovered the population was decimated by over hunting for the fur trade. It was believed that the Juan Fernández fur seal was extinct until a small group of 200 was found on the Juan Fernández islands in the 1960s. Now it is estimated that over 12,000 individuals exist today.
This particular seal lives a solitary life. Seals forage out at sea and haul out on rocky shores to rest. Females seem to be fairly particular about where she rests during the day and prefer tide pools and rocky caves. The resting areas that females prefer often become areas of male competition for breeding rights. Although females will typically rest in close regions, they are sure to be a few feet away from each other and never touch one another.
Breeding is a territorial process with the Juan Fernández fur seal, males will aggressively fight for access to female resting sites. This seal is polygynous, meaning that one male breeds with multiple females. Pups are born between November and December and are weaned off the mother's milk at 10 months of age. Mothers stay with the pups for about a week and then they leave to mate again and forage. Pups are born with soft black fur that fades to light brown within the first few years.
Not much is known about the diet of Juan Fernández fur seals. Scientists have only observed the diet of lactating females that are caring for pups. What they have observed is that females forage out at sea sometimes as far as 300 miles off shore and will dive to depths of 30 to 300 feet to find lanternfish and squid. Typically lactating females will dive and forage at night when prey swims to shallow waters and become more accessible. Sometimes they will stay out at sea for up to 25 days, then return to shore and stay with the pups for 5 days.
During the period that the mothers are foraging the pup goes without milk for several days, sometimes weeks. To combat this, the mother's milk is high in fat and nutrients that the pup uses for energy while the mother is away. However, during this time the pups' immune systems are not as highly functioning as adults and can be prone to infection from intestinal parasites that leads to fatal infections. In the early 90s there were 60 pups discovered dead from hookworm infections, and also the presence of heavy metal ions were found in their systems. Such loss decimated the population and they are still recovering now.
The year 1574 in science and technology involved some significant events.Archipiélago de Juan Fernández National Park
Archipiélago de Juan Fernández National Park (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈxwaɱ feɾˈnandes]) is a national park located in the Pacific Ocean 665 kilometres west of Chile's mainland port of San Antonio, in the Juan Fernández Archipelago. The park covers 96 square kilometres and comprises the Santa Clara, Alejandro Selkirk and the most part of the Robinson Crusoe Island islands.Arctocephalus
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 bay cat (C. badia) and the Asian golden cat (C. temminckii).
Both are typically reddish brown in colour, with darker markings on the head. They inhabit forested environments in Southeast Asia. The bay cat is restricted to the island of Borneo. Originally thought to be two subspecies of the same animal, recent genetic analysis has confirmed they are, indeed, separate species.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, 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.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.Indian brown mongoose
The Indian brown mongoose (Herpestes fuscus) looks similar to the short-tailed mongoose from Southeast Asia and is sometimes believed to be only a subspecies of this latter. The Indian brown mongoose is found in southwest India and Sri Lanka.Last Chance to See
Last Chance to See is a 1989 BBC radio documentary series and its accompanying book, written and presented by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine. In the series, Adams and Carwardine travel to various locations in the hope of encountering species on the brink of extinction. The book was published in 1990.
In 2009, the BBC broadcast a television follow-up series of the same name, with Stephen Fry replacing the late Adams.In 1985, Douglas Adams went to Madagascar in search of the (possibly extinct) lemur the aye-aye. The trip was part of a project by the World Wide Fund for Nature and British Sunday newspaper The Observer, sending well-known authors to remote places to seek endangered species and write articles for The Observer Magazine, to help raise awareness of ecological issues. Adams was met in Madagascar by zoologist Mark Carwardine (who was working for the WWF at the time). The Observer project was successful, and Adams and Carwardine developed a radio series around the same concept for BBC Radio 4. Carwardine later said:
"We put a big map of the world on a wall, Douglas stuck a pin in everywhere he fancied going, I stuck a pin in where all the endangered animals were, and we made a journey out of every place that had two pins."The journeys undertaken were to see:
The aye-aye in Madagascar
The Komodo dragon on the island of Komodo in Indonesia
The kakapo in New Zealand
The mountain gorilla in Zaire
The northern white rhinoceros in Zaire
The Yangtze river dolphin in China
The Rodrigues fruit bat on the island of Rodrigues, Mauritius
The Amazonian manatee in Brazil
The Juan Fernández fur seal on the Juan Fernández Islands, ChileLutrogale
Lutrogale is a genus of otters, with only one extant species—the smooth-coated otter.Mustelinae
Mustelinae is a subfamily of family Mustelidae, which includes weasels, ferrets amd minks.It was formerly defined in a paraphyletic manner to also include wolverines, martens, and many other mustelids, to the exclusion of the otters (Lutrinae).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.Paradoxurinae
The Paradoxurinae are a subfamily of the viverrids that was denominated and first described by John Edward Gray in 1864.Pocock subordinated the oriental genera Paradoxurus, Paguma and Arctictis to this subfamily.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.Pusa
Pusa is a genus of the earless seals, within the family Phocidae. The three species of this genus were split from the genus Phoca, and some sources still give Phoca as an acceptable synonym for Pusa.
The three species in this genus are found in Arctic and subarctic regions, as well as around the Caspian Sea. This includes these countries and regions: Russia, Scandinavia, Britain, Greenland, Canada, the United States, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Japan. Due to changing local environmental conditions, the ringed seals found in the Canadian region has varied patterns of growth. The northern Canadian ringed seals grow slowly to a larger size, while the southern seals grow quickly to a smaller size.
Only the Caspian seal is endangered.Speothos
Speothos is a genus of canid found in Central and South America. The genus includes the living bush dog, Speothos venaticus, and an extinct Pleistocene species, Speothos pacivorus. Unusually, the fossil species was identified and named before the extant species was discovered, with the result that the type species of Speothos is S. pacivorus.