This week during some blustery weather out on Béchervaise Island, Matt and Lisa spotted an Antarctic fur seal sheltering in the lee of the island.
Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) are a rare occurrence at Mawson. They are more commonly found near their breeding colonies on the sub-Antarctic islands and the Antarctic Peninsula than along the East Antarctic coastline. Researchers estimate there are approximately 4 million fur seals in the Southern Ocean area, 95% breeding on the islands of South Georgia.
This fur seal, one of the family of ‘eared seals’ or otariids was probably a young non-breeding male. He appeared mildly curious when Matt came closer to take a photograph but then disappeared as quickly as he came. While Antarctic fur seals congregate during the breeding season, they disperse widely at sea and are usually solitary foragers.