Subject: abstract - leopard seals (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Fri, 24 Apr 1998 13:49:36 -0400 (EDT)


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 22 Apr 1998 12:34:57 -0400
From: Dagmar Fertl <>
Reply-To: Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
Subject: abstract - leopard seals

     The following might be of interest to some of the readers.  Please do
     hit the reply button to request copies.
     Walker, TR; Boyd, IL; McCafferty, DJ; Huin, N; Taylor, RI; Reid, K.
     1998.  Seasonal occurrence and diet of leopard seals (_Hydrurga
     leptonyx_) at Bird Island, South Georgia.  Antarctic Science 10:

     Seasonal haul-out patterns and diet of individually marked leopard
     seals (_Hydrurga leptonyx_) were investigated at Bird Island, South
     Georgia during the 1983-96 winters. A total of 2956 leopard seal
     sightings were made, and 121 seals were tagged during the study,
     mainly between 1993 and 1996. Photographs of scars and pelage patterns
     were also used to identify a subset of these individuals
     across years, which provided no evidence of tag loss between or within
     years. Leopard seals were observed between April and
     November; the mean time between the first and last sightings in each
     year was 208 d (s d +/- 48). Between 1993-96, eight seals
     were resident around the island for more than 100 d, and the longest
     recorded residence was 130 d. The proportion of tagged seals
     resighted was 0.35 and 0.17 in 1995 and 1996 respectively. Based on
     estimates of body length, <5% of the seals were juveniles
     (0-1 years) and >70% were not sexually mature. There was considerable
     inter-annual variation in abundance, with a maximum of 502 sightings
     during 1994, compared with a minimum of 21 during 1986 and 1989.
     Antarctic fur seals (_Arctocephalus gazella_) were the main prey item
     (58% of kills observed and 53% of scats). Other items included
     penguins (28% of kills observed and 20% of scats) and fish (24% of
     scats). Antarctic krill (_Euphausia superba_), southern elephant seals
     (_Mirounga leonina_) and seabirds other than penguins were also
     present in the diet in small quantities.

     *The version of this abstract that I pulled up used the word "seats",
     which if you read through this abstract, you can assume should have
     been "scats".  I have made this revision throughout.