of the population status of Arctocephalus gazella
(Peters, 1875) in waters of the Argentine Islands
was carried out in the period from April 2015 to
March 2016 in accordance with the objectives of
the State Target Scientific and Technical Research
Program of Ukraine in Antarctica for 2011–2020.
The aim of the ar-ticle is to study the population
dynamics and distribution of the southern fur seal
in waters of the Argentine Is-lands. Due to the
lack of data on the specifics of the seal’s dispersal
in different periods of the year and the dynamics
of the species population at the southern border
of the distribution range, the results of the research
are relevant and of great importance. In the second
half of the 20th century, some publications presented
the results of monitoring of pinnipeds at the Argentine
Islands and adjacent territories, but the objects
of these studies usually were other seal species:
Hydrurga leptonyx, Lobodon carcinophagus, Leptonychotes
weddelli, and Mirounga leonina. In the early 21st
century, monitoring of the fauna of the Argentine
Islands was carried out by Ukrainian biologists.
However, they focused on Leptonychotes weddelli
and less on other species of pinnipeds. The field
material was collected in waters of the Argentine
Islands, which is located in the Pacific sector
of Antarctica. The fur seal population census and
distribution studies were conducted according to
the generally accepted methods. After breeding season
on the subantarctic islands, during the migration
south-wards, fur seals reach the Argentine Islands,
usually in the third decade of January. In the summer
of 2016, the first fur seal was recorded within
the archipelago on 31 January. During the study
period, the largest number of animals within the
archipelago was recorded in March–April and it ranged
from 300 to 400 individuals. On the islands of the
archipelago, the main resting places of seals were
identified. The movement of animals north-wards
starts in May, consequently a decrease in the number
of animals in this region is observed at that time.
The last individuals are recorded in the first half
of August. In 2015, migration began in May and ended
in ear-ly August. There are several periods that
were characterized by intensive migration of the
animals: late June, 5–8 July, and 29 July to 6 August.
In winter, one individual was last found within
the archipelago on 12 Au-gust. The migration is
launched by the worsening of weather conditions,
formation of a continuous ice cover, reduced availability
of food, and other factors.
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