Population trends of New Zealand fur seals in the Rakiura region based on long-term population surveys and traditional ecological knowledge

D Watson, B Beaven, Corey Bradshaw

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    We estimated population abundance of New Zealand fur seal (Arctocephalus forsteri) pups on Bench Island off Stewart Island, New Zealand seven times between 1996 and 2012. Overall, there was a 29% increase in pup abundance from 1996 to 2012 at the Main Beach colony, corresponding to a mean annual growth rate of 1.6% and a doubling time of approximately 40 years. At the Sprat Point colony, there was an overall increase of 29% between 2003 and 2012 corresponding to a mean annual growth rate of 2.9% and a doubling time of approximately 25 years. The area occupied by both colonies has also increased. In 2006, we surveyed East Beach and counted a total of 201 pups. We obtained traditional ecological knowledge of fur seal distribution and breeding status from local Ma¯ori for 46 locations around Stewart Island, 36 of which have not been surveyed since Wilson in 1971-1974; this supports an expansion of fur seal presence and breeding areas in the region in the last 41 years.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)106-118
    Number of pages13
    JournalNew Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research
    Volume49
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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