The northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus) is an eared seal found along the north Pacific Ocean, the Bering Sea, and the Sea of Okhotsk. It is the largest member of the fur seal subfamily (Arctocephalinae) and the only living species in the genus Callorhinus. A single fossil species, Callorhinus gilmorei, is known from the Pliocene of Japan and western North America.
|Northern fur seal|
|Northern fur seal bull, St Paul Island, 1992|
Phoca ursina Linnaeus, 1758
Northern fur seals have extreme sexual dimorphism, with males being 30–40% longer and more than 4.5 times heavier than adult females. The head is foreshortened in both sexes because of the very short, down-curved muzzle, and small nose, which extends slightly beyond the mouth in females and moderately in males. The pelage is thick and luxuriant, with a dense underfur in a creamy color. The underfur is obscured by the longer guard hairs, although it is partially visible when the animals are wet. Features of both fore and hind flippers are unique and diagnostic of the species. Fur is absent on the top of the fore flippers and an abrupt "clean line" is seen across the wrist where the fur ends. The hind flippers are proportionately the longest in any otariid because of extremely long, cartilaginous extensions on all of the toes. Small claws are on digits 2–4, well back from the flap-like end of each digit. The ear pinnae are long and conspicuous, and naked of dark fur at the tips in older animals. The mystacial vibrissae can be very long, and regularly extend beyond the ears. Adults have all white vibrissae, juveniles and subadults have a mixture of white and black vibrissae, including some that have dark bases and white ends, and pups and yearlings have all black vibrissae. The eyes are proportionately large and conspicuous, especially on females, subadults, and juveniles.
Adult males are stocky in build, and have enlarged (thick and wide) necks. A mane of coarse, longer guard hairs extends from the lower neck to the shoulders. and covers the nape, neck, chest, and upper back. While the skulls of adult males are large and robust for their overall size, their heads appear short because of the combination of a short muzzle, and the backs of the head behind the ear pinnae being obscured by the enlarged necks. Adult males have abrupt foreheads formed by the elevation of the crown from development of the sagittal crests, and thicker fur of the mane on the top of their heads.
Canine teeth are much longer and have a greater diameter in adult males than those found on adult females, and this relationship holds to a lesser extent at all ages.
Adult females, subadults, and juveniles are moderate in build. Distinguishing the sexes is difficult until about age five. The body is modest in size and the neck, chest, and shoulders are sized in proportion with the torso. Adult females and subadults have more complex and variable coloration than adult males. They are dark silver-gray to charcoal above. The flanks, chest, sides, and underside of the neck, often forming a chevron pattern in this area, are cream to tan with rusty tones. Variable cream to rust-colored areas are on the sides and top of the muzzle, chin, and as a "brush stroke" running backwards under the eye. In contrast, adult males are medium gray to black, or reddish to dark brown all over. Their manes can have variable amounts of silver-gray or yellowish tinting on the guard hairs. Pups are blackish at birth, with variable oval areas of buff on the sides, in the axillary area, and on the chin and sides of the muzzle. After three to four months, pups molt to the color of adult females and subadults.
Males can be as large as 2.1 m and 270 kg. Females can be up to 1.5 m and weigh 50 kg or more. Newborns weigh 5.4–6 kg, and are 60–65 cm long.
The teeth are haplodont, i.e. sharp, conical and mostly single-rooted, as is common with carnivorous marine mammals adapted to tearing fish flesh. As with most caniforms, the upper canines are prominent. The dental formula of the adult is 184.108.40.206 
Like other otariids, northern fur seals are built for efficient terrestrial locomotion. Their hind limbs are in a plantigrade stance and are able to rotate under the body for quadrupedal locomotion and support. When swimming, there are two different types of movement: locomotion and diving. These seals swim primarily with forelimb propulsion due to their physiology. They have flexible joints between vertebrae for better maneuverability in the water as well as “greater muscular leverage” for pectoral strokes. Stroke patterns are different for different dive types and locomotion, and stroke rates vary for individuals since there’s a relationship between maximum stroke rate and body size.
The northern fur seal is found in the north Pacific – its southernmost reach is a line that runs roughly from the southern tip of Japan to the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula, the Sea of Okhotsk, and the Bering Sea. An estimated 1.1 million northern fur seals occur across the range, of which roughly half breed on the Pribilof Islands in the east Bering Sea. Another 200–250 thousand breed on the Commander Islands in the west Bering Sea, some 100,000 breed on Tyuleniy Island off the coast of Sakhalin in the southwest Sea of Okhotsk, and another 60–70 thousand in the central Kuril Islands in Russia. Smaller rookeries (around 5,000 animals) are found on Bogoslof Island in the Aleutian Chain, San Miguel Island in the Channel Island group and South Farallon Island off the coast of California. Recent evidence from stable isotope analysis of Holocene fur seal bone collagen (δ13C and δ15N) indicates that before the maritime fur trade, it was more common for these animals to breed at local rookeries in British Columbia, California, and likely along much of the northwest coast of North America.
During the winter, northern fur seals display a net movement southward, with animals from Russian rookeries regularly entering Japanese and Korean waters in the Sea of Japan and Alaskan animals moving along the central and eastern Pacific to British Columbia, Canada and as far south as Baja California.
The northern fur seal's range overlaps almost exactly with that of Steller sea lions; occasional cohabitation occurs at reproductive rookeries, notably in the Kurils, the Commander Islands, and Tyulen'i Islands. The only other fur seal found in the Northern Hemisphere is the Guadalupe fur seal which overlaps slightly with the northern fur seal's range in California.
Fur seals are opportunistic feeders, primarily feeding on pelagic fish and squid depending on local availability. Identified fish prey include hake, herring, lantern fish, capelin, pollock, and mackerel. Their feeding behavior is primarily solitary.
Northern fur seals are preyed upon primarily by sharks and killer whales. Occasionally, very young animals are eaten by Steller sea lions. Occasional predation on live pups by Arctic foxes has also been observed.
Due to very high densities of pups on reproductive rookeries and the early age at which mothers begin their foraging trips, mortality can be relatively high. Consequently, pup carcasses are important in enriching the diet of many scavengers, in particular gulls and Arctic foxes.
Seals enter breeding rookeries in May. Generally, older males (10 years and older) return first and compete for prime breeding spots on the rookeries. They remain on the rookery, fasting throughout the duration of the breeding season. The females come somewhat later, and give birth shortly thereafter. Like all other otariids, northern fur seals are polygynous, with some males breeding with up to 50 females in a single breeding season. Unlike Steller sea lions, with which they share habitat and some breeding sites, northern fur seals are possessive of individual females in their harem, often aggressively competing with neighboring males for females. Deaths of females as a consequence of these conflicts have been recorded, though the males themselves are rarely seriously injured. Young males unable to acquire and maintain a territory of a harem typically aggregate in neighboring "haulouts", occasionally making incursions into the reproductive sections of the rookery in an attempt to displace an older male.
After remaining with their pups for the first eight to ten days of their lives, females begin foraging trips lasting up to a week. These trips last for about four months before weaning, which happens abruptly, typically in October. Most of the animals on a rookery enter the water and disperse towards the end of November, typically migrating southward. Breeding site fidelity is generally high for fur seal females, though young males might disperse to other existing rookeries, or occasionally find new haulouts.
Peak mating occurs somewhat later than peak birthing from late June to late July. As with many other otariids, the fertilized egg undergoes delayed implantation: after the blastocyst stage occurs, development halts and implantantion occurs four months after fertilization. In total, gestation lasts around a year, such that the pups born in a given summer are the product of the previous year's breeding cycle.
Recently, concern about the status of fur seal populations has increased, particularly in the Pribilof Islands, where pup production has decreased about 50% since the 1970s, with a continuing drop of about 6–7% per year. This has caused them to be listed as "vulnerable" under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and has led to an intensified research program into their behavioral and foraging ecology. Possible causes are increased predation by killer whales, competition with fisheries, and climate change effects, but to date, no scientific consensus has been reached. The IUCN (2008) lists the species as globally threatened under the category "vulnerable".
Northern fur seals have been a staple food of native northeast Asian and Alaska Native peoples for thousands of years. The arrival of Europeans to Kamchatka and Alaska in the 17th and 18th centuries, first from Russia and later from North America, was followed by a highly extractive commercial fur trade. The commercial fur trade was accelerated in 1786, when Gavriil Pribylov discovered St. George Island, a key rookery of the seals. An estimated 2.5 million seals were killed from 1786 to 1867. This trade led to a decline in fur seal numbers. Restrictions were first placed on fur seal harvest on the Pribilof Islands by the Russians in 1834. Shortly after the United States purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867, the U.S. Treasury was authorized to lease sealing privileges on the Pribilofs, which were granted somewhat liberally to the Alaska Commercial Company. From 1870 to 1909, pelagic sealing proceeded to take a significant toll on the fur seal population, such that the Pribilof population, historically numbering on the order of millions of individuals, reached a low of 216,000 animals in 1912.
Significant harvest was more or less arrested with the signing of the North Pacific Fur Seal Convention of 1911 by Great Britain (on behalf of Canada), Japan, Russia, and the United States. The Convention of 1911 remained in force until the onset of hostilities among the signatories during World War II, and is also notable as the first international treaty to address the conservation of wildlife. A successive convention was signed in 1957 and amended by a protocol in 1963. "The international convention was put into effect domestically by the Fur Seal Act of 1966 (Public Law 89-702)", said an Interior Department review of the history. Currently, a subsistence hunt by the residents of St. Paul Island and an insignificant harvest in Russia are allowed.
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A demyelinating disease is any disease of the nervous system in which the myelin sheath of neurons is damaged. This damage impairs the conduction of signals in the affected nerves. In turn, the reduction in conduction ability causes deficiency in sensation, movement, cognition, or other functions depending on which nerves are involved.
Some demyelinating diseases are caused by genetics, some by infectious agents, some by autoimmune reactions, and some by unknown factors. Organophosphates, a class of chemicals which are the active ingredients in commercial insecticides such as sheep dip, weed killers, and flea treatment preparations for pets, etc., also demyelinate nerves. Neuroleptics can also cause demyelination.Demyelinating diseases are traditionally classified in two kinds: demyelinating myelinoclastic diseases and demyelinating leukodystrophic diseases. In the first group, a normal and healthy myelin is destroyed by a toxic, chemical, or autoimmune substance. In the second group, myelin is abnormal and degenerates. The second group was denominated dysmyelinating diseases by Poser.In the most known example, multiple sclerosis, good evidence shows that the body's own immune system is at least partially responsible. Acquired immune system cells called T-cells are known to be present at the site of lesions. Other immune-system cells called macrophages (and possibly mast cells) also contribute to the damage.Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause demyelination.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.Farallon Islands
The Farallon Islands, or Farallones (from the Spanish farallón meaning "pillar" or "sea cliff"), are a group of islands and sea stacks in the Gulf of the Farallones, off the coast of San Francisco, California, United States. The islands are also sometimes referred to by mariners as the Devil's Teeth Islands, in reference to the many treacherous underwater shoals in their vicinity. The islands lie 30 miles (48 km) outside the Golden Gate and 20 miles (32 km) south of Point Reyes, and are visible from the mainland on clear days. The islands are part of the City and County of San Francisco. The only inhabited portion of the islands is on Southeast Farallon Island (SEFI), where researchers from Point Blue Conservation Science and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stay. The islands are closed to the public.The Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge is one of 63 National Wildlife Refuges that have congressionally designated wilderness status. In 1974 the Farallon Wilderness was established (Public Law 93-550) and includes all islands except the Southeast Island for a total of 141 acres (57 ha).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.List of Arctic pinnipeds
This is a list of Arctic pinnipeds:
Phocidae (ᓇᑦᓯᖅ, natsiq)Bearded seal (ᐅᒡᔪᒃ, ᐅᒥᒃᑑᖅ, ugjuk) Erignathus barbatus
Hooded seal (ᓇᑦᓯᕙᒃ, natsivak) Cystophora cristata
Harbor seal (ᖃᓯᒋᐊᖅ, qasigiaq) Phoca vitulina
Harp seal (ᖃᐃᕈᓕᒃ, qairulik) Pagophilus groenlandicus
Grey seal (ᐳᕕᓲᖅ, puvisuuq) Halichoerus grypus
Ringed seal (ᓇᑦᑎᖅ, nattiq) Pusa hispida
Northern elephant seal Mirounga angustirostris
Ribbon seal (Histriophoca fasciata)
Spotted seal (Phoca largha, Phoca vitulina largha)
Northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus)
OdobenidaeWalrus (ᐊᐃᕕᖅ, aiviq) Odobenus rosmarusList of The Jungle Book characters
This is a list of characters that appear in Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book story collection, its sequel The Second Jungle Book, and the various film adaptations based on those books. Characters include both human and talking animal characters.Lutrogale
Lutrogale is a genus of otters, with only one extant species—the smooth-coated otter.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.Opisthoteuthis californiana
Opisthoteuthis californiana, also known as the flapjack octopus, is a species of umbrella octopus.Orthohalarachne
Orthohalarachne attenuata (family: Halarachnidae) is a species of mite normally found in the nasal passages of fur seals, sea lions, and walruses. In seals, the mites can be both prevalent (almost every single seal has them) and abundant (more than 1000 mites per seal). Although clinical observations and gross examination indicate that O. attenuata parasitization alone is not serious, some erosion and inflammation of the nasal turbinates and nasopharynx in seals has been observed in histological sections. If concomitant parasitization with O. attenuata and O. diminuta occurs, alveolar emphysema and more serious ailments can threaten the life of the mammal.Pinniped
Pinnipeds, commonly known as seals, are a widely distributed and diverse clade of carnivorous, fin-footed, semiaquatic marine mammals. They comprise the extant families Odobenidae (whose only living member is the walrus), Otariidae (the eared seals: sea lions and fur seals), and Phocidae (the earless seals, or true seals). There are 33 extant species of pinnipeds, and more than 50 extinct species have been described from fossils. While seals were historically thought to have descended from two ancestral lines, molecular evidence supports them as a monophyletic lineage (descended from one ancestral line). Pinnipeds belong to the order Carnivora and their closest living relatives are believed to be bears and the superfamily of musteloids (weasels, raccoons, skunks, and red pandas), having diverged about 50 million years ago.
Seals range in size from the 1 m (3 ft 3 in) and 45 kg (99 lb) Baikal seal to the 5 m (16 ft) and 3,200 kg (7,100 lb) southern elephant seal, which is also the largest member of the order Carnivora. Several species exhibit sexual dimorphism. They have streamlined bodies and four limbs that are modified into flippers. Though not as fast in the water as dolphins, seals are more flexible and agile. Otariids use their front limbs primarily to propel themselves through the water, while phocids and walruses use their hind limbs. Otariids and walruses have hind limbs that can be pulled under the body and used as legs on land. By comparison, terrestrial locomotion by phocids is more cumbersome. Otariids have visible external ears, while phocids and walruses lack these. Pinnipeds have well-developed senses—their eyesight and hearing are adapted for both air and water, and they have an advanced tactile system in their whiskers or vibrissae. Some species are well adapted for diving to great depths. They have a layer of fat, or blubber, under the skin to keep warm in the cold water, and, other than the walrus, all species are covered in fur.
Although pinnipeds are widespread, most species prefer the colder waters of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. They spend most of their lives in the water, but come ashore to mate, give birth, molt or escape from predators, such as sharks and killer whales. They feed largely on fish and marine invertebrates; but a few, like the leopard seal, feed on large vertebrates, such as penguins and other seals. Walruses are specialized for feeding on bottom-dwelling mollusks. Male pinnipeds typically mate with more than one female (polygyny), although the degree of polygyny varies with the species. The males of land-breeding species tend to mate with a greater number of females than those of ice breeding species. Male pinniped strategies for reproductive success vary between defending females, defending territories that attract females and performing ritual displays or lek mating. Pups are typically born in the spring and summer months and females bear almost all the responsibility for raising them. Mothers of some species fast and nurse their young for a relatively short period of time while others take foraging trips at sea between nursing bouts. Walruses are known to nurse their young while at sea. Seals produce a number of vocalizations, notably the barks of California sea lions, the gong-like calls of walruses and the complex songs of Weddell seals.
The meat, blubber and fur coats of pinnipeds have traditionally been used by indigenous peoples of the Arctic. Seals have been depicted in various cultures worldwide. They are commonly kept in captivity and are even sometimes trained to perform tricks and tasks. Once relentlessly hunted by commercial industries for their products, seals and walruses are now protected by international law. The Japanese sea lion and the Caribbean monk seal have become extinct in the past century, while the Mediterranean monk seal and Hawaiian monk seal are ranked endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Besides hunting, pinnipeds also face threats from accidental trapping, marine pollution, and conflicts with local people.Pribilof Islands
The Pribilof Islands (formerly the Northern Fur Seal Islands) are a group of four volcanic islands off the coast of mainland Alaska, in the Bering Sea, about two hundred miles (320 km) north of Unalaska and 200 miles (320 km) southwest of Cape Newenham. The Siberian coast is roughly 500 miles (800 km) northwest. About 77 square miles (200 km2) in total area, they are mostly rocky and are covered with tundra, with a population of 572 as of the 2010 census.Sea lion
Sea lions are sea mammals characterized by external ear flaps, long foreflippers, the ability to walk on all fours, short, thick hair, and a big chest and belly. Together with the fur seals, they comprise the family Otariidae, eared seals, which contains six extant and one extinct species (the Japanese sea lion) in five genera. Their range extends from the subarctic to tropical waters of the global ocean in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, with the notable exception of the northern Atlantic Ocean. They have an average lifespan of 20–30 years. A male California sea lion weighs on average about 300 kg (660 lb) and is about 8 ft (2.4 m) long, while the female sea lion weighs 100 kg (220 lb) and is 6 ft (1.8 m) long. The largest sea lion is Steller's sea lion, which can weigh 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) and grow to a length of 10 ft (3.0 m). Sea lions consume large quantities of food at a time and are known to eat about 5–8% of their body weight (about 15–35 lb (6.8–15.9 kg)) at a single feeding. Sea lions can go around 16 knots in water and at their fastest they can go up to 30 knots. Three species, the Australian sea lion, the Galápagos sea lion and the New Zealand sea lion are listed as Endangered.Seal Island Historic District
The Seal Island Historic District is a National Historic Landmark District located on the islands of St. George and St. Paul in the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea of Alaska. These islands are home to northern fur seal herds which were actively hunted by indigenous populations and later by many nationalities. These islands of the Pribilofs are also the southern end of the range of the polar bear, (Ursus maritimus) The North Pacific Fur Seal Convention of 1911 signed by the United Kingdom, Japan, Russia and the United States limited hunting of the seals on these islands; this international treaty was one of the first conservation treaties, and set the stage for subsequent treaties.Thalassoleon
Thalassoleon is an extinct genus of large fur seal. Thalassoleon inhabited the Northern Pacific ocean in latest Miocene and early Pliocene time. Fossils of T. mexicanus are known from Baja California and southern California. T. macnallyae is known from central California, and T. inouei (which may be a synonym of T. macnallyae) is known from Japan. Thalassoleon could be the ancestor of the modern northern fur seal.
T. mexicanus was comparable in size to the largest fur seals, with an estimated weight of 295–318 kg (650-700 lb). T. macnallyae, based on size of the mandible, may have grown much larger, similar in size to a walrus.The Marine Mammal Center
The Marine Mammal Center is a private, non-profit U.S. organization that was established in 1975 for the purpose of rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing, marine mammals who are injured, ill, or abandoned. It was founded in Sausalito, California by Lloyd Smalley, Pat Arrigoni, and Paul Maxwell. Since 1975 they rescued over 20,000 marine mammals. It also serves as a center for environmental research and education regarding marine mammals, namely cetaceans (whales and dolphins) and pinnipeds (seals, fur seals, and sea lions). Marine mammal abandonment refers to maternal separation; pups that have been separated from their mother before weaning. At the center, they receive specialized veterinary care; diagnosed, treated, rehabilitated, and ideally, released back into the wild. Animals in need of assistance are usually identified by a member of the public who has contacted the center. These animals represent the following major species: California sea lion, northern elephant seal, Pacific harbor seal, northern fur seal, and the southern sea otter. On a few occasions, the Marine Mammal Center has taken in Guadeloupe fur seals, Steller sea lions, and bottlenose/Pacific white-sided dolphins. The only non-mammals that the center takes in are sea turtles.Tyuleny Island (Sea of Okhotsk)
Tyuleny Island (Ostrov Tyuleniy) is a small island in the Sea of Okhotsk, just east of Russia's Sakhalin island, Northeast Asia.Victor Blanchard Scheffer
Victor Blanchard Scheffer (November 27, 1906 – September 20, 2011) was an American biologist and the author of eleven books relating to natural history. He was born in Manhattan, Kansas and moved to Washington state at a young age. His father, Theophilus H. Scheffer (1866-1966), was an associate biologist for the United States Bureau of Biological Survey for 27 years, who focused on wildlife management in the Pacific Northwest.
Extant Carnivora species