Antarctic Fur Seal
A Dangerous Kindergarten
Antarctic Fur Seal Colony
The hundred mile long island of South Georgia lies on the northern fringe of Antarctica. Ice free all year, the waters make it a popular breeding
destination for all beach lovers.
In summer about 95% of the world's Antarctic fur seals come here. Packed tightly together they form one of the densest gatherings of marine mammals on Earth. The island's beaches are filling fast and will soon be crammed with five million of these summer visitors.
Bull Fur Seal Conflict
Space is at a premium as each female needs a patch of beach the size of a beach towel for herself, and for good reason. Virtually all of them give
birth within just 10 days. It's crucial to establish a strong bond with the baby fur seal in such a crowded colony. The pups grow quickly on rich,
high-fat milk. After giving birth, the females are ready to mate, so each male guards up to 15 of them in his small patch of beach.
Antarctic Fur Seal Pups
A bull Antarctic fur seal may only hold a territory for one season in his entire life. So, when a challenger arrives, he will risk everything to retain it. A noisy, violent fight ensues. Their sharp teeth inflict terrible injuries. Many bulls die from exhaustion after these fights. In the heat of the battle, pups are also in real danger. The defeated bull makes his escape but, the antarctci fur seal colony still suffers from the side-effects. Many of the pups get lost in the violence and confusion. This time there is a happy ending.