Southern or New Zealand Fur Seal (Arctocephalus fosteri) - Wiki
New Zealand Fur Seal
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[Photo] New Zealand Fur Seal (Arctocephalus fosteri). Author: Thomas Mattern. Institution: Department of Zoology, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Image date: 05.11.2004. Location: Station Point, The Snares, New Zealand. License: GNU-FDL. URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Arctocephalus_fosteri.png
|Copyright (C) 2004 Thomas Mattern|
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The New Zealand Fur Seal
or Southern Fur Seal
(kokono in the M??ori language), Arctocephalus fosteri
, is a species of fur seal
found around the south coast of Australia, the coast of the South Island of New Zealand, and some of the small islands to the south and east of there. Male-only colonies are also located on the Cook Strait coast of the North Island near Wellington. The species has two common names because the Australian and New Zealand populations do not overlap. Although the two populations show some genet
ic differences, their morphologies are very similar indeed, and thus remain classed as a single species.
These seals were widely hunted from shortly after the European discovery of New Zealand until the late 19th Century. The population of the New Zealand seal fell to levels under 10% of the original numbers. In New Zealand the Fur Seal
is now protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (1978).
Although the fur seal
s look docile, they can move surprisingly quickly and it is advisable never to approach a female with young or get between a seal and the water, therefore making it feel trapped as you have cut off its only escape route. Their teeth are very sharp and many New Zealanders have been bitten.
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