Scientific Name: Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus
General Description: The Cape fur seal, also known as the South African fur seal, is an eared seal. Cape fur seals have a large broad head with a pointed snout and visible ears. Males are brown, dark gray or light brown with a darker area behind the head. Females generally tend to be lighter shades of gray and brown with a dark underside and light coloured throat area. When first born, pups are black and turn gray with a pale coloured throat area after moulting the initial coat.
Size: Bulls measure 1.8 - 2.3 m(5.9 - 7.5ft) long and weigh 200 - 360kg(441 - 794lbs), while cows are 1.2 - 1.7m(3.9 - 5.6ft) long and weigh 40 - 110kg(88 - 243lbs). Pups are 60 - 80cm(2 - 2.6ft) long at birth and weigh 5 - 6kg(11 - 13lbs), male pups being slightly longer and heavier than females.
Longevity: 25 years.
Range and Habitat: Cape fur seals are found from the southeastern coast of South Africa all the way around the cape and along the Namibian coast. Cape fur seals are a coastal species which do not venture too far into open waters and have no preference to where they like to haul out, these areas will range from sand, pebble and rock textures.
Diet: Cape fur seals feed on pilchards, lanternfish, sardines, anchovies, pelagic goby, horse mackerel, demersal hake, squid, snoek, cape gannets, cormorants and jackass penguins and rock lobster. The Cape fur seal, like most other species of seal, is a predator of opportunity. Cape furs eat about 5% of their body weight a day, between 6-7 tonnes for a full grown bull annually.
Predators: Humans, Sharks, Killer Whales, Jackals and Hyenas.
Population: Estimated at 1.5 - 2 million.
Reproduction: Cows become sexually mature at 3-4 years of age and bulls at 4-5 years. However, bulls do not achieve social maturity until they are 10-13 years old. In early November bulls arrive at the breeding colonies and set up territories along the shore which they will aggressively defend against rival bulls. Shortly after, pregnant cows arrive and within a couple of days, give birth to a pup. Roughly a week after giving birth cows begin to mate and at the time of impregnation the embryo goes into a form of stasis for four months called delayed implantation. Pups are weaned within nine months but during the dependency period females will leave the pups for up to three days at a time to feed.
IUCN Status: LOWER RISK (LR) - A taxon is Lower Risk when it has been evaluated, does not satisfy the criteria for any of the categories Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable. Least Concern (lc). Taxa which do not qualify for Conservation Dependent or Near Threatened.