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Australian fur seal pup population is shrinking

Australian fur seal pup population is shrinking

Arctocephalus forsteri

Full article issued by Philip Island Nature Parks and Plos.

ARC supported researchers has conducted a census of annual pup production by Australian fur seal populations and revealed the first reduction since species-wide protection was implemented in 1975.

In the marine environment, monitoring the abundance and population trends of a top predator can provide measures of ecosystem health and management success. Fur seals, Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus, are important upper trophic level predators that, in Australia, are a protected marine species facing specific challenges related to fisheries and aquaculture management, ecotourism, potential impacts on seabirds, and response planning for oil spills and other emergencies.

An ad-hoc monitoring program, coordinated across multiple stakeholders conducted a range-wide census of live pups in the Austral summers of 2002, 2007 and 2013. A part of the census took place on Montague Island and was funded by an ARC Linkage Project grant led by Professor Rob Harcourt.

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