Hooker's or New Zealand Sea Lion (Phocarctos hookeri) - Wiki
New Zealand Sea Lion
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[Photo] New Zealand Sea Lion Phocarctos hookeri. "I took this photograph, and hereby place it in the Public Domain" - albatross2147. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Nzhookerso1.jpg
The New Zealand Sea Lion or Hooker's Sea Lion (Phocarctos hookeri) is a species of sea lion that breeds around the coast of New Zealand's South Island and Stewart Island/Rakiura to some extent, and to a greater extent around New Zealand's sub-antarctic islands, especially the Auckland Islands. As one of the larger New Zealand animals, it has been a protected species since the 1890s.
There was thought to be a population of around 15,000 in the mid-1990s. This may have declined somewhat since an outbreak of disease in 1998 caused the deaths of an estimated 20% of adult females and 50% of pups that year. Estimates (based on pup-counts) are about 13,000 for 2004.
A judgment of the Court of Appeal of New Zealand issued on 7 April 2004, with the reasons issued separately on 13 July 2004 (CA39/04), overturned a restrictive decision by the Minister of Fisheries, which had been based on advice from the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries; the Court allowed squid fishers a bycatch of up to 124 sea lions in the 2004 season, as against the 62 specified by the Minister. As the species is considered to be far from "endangered", the Court considered that the Minister's imposition of the lower figure (one of the lowest ever imposed in the 20-year history of such restrictions) was going beyond what the law required.
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