fur seal

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to fur seal: Southern Fur Seal, Northern Fur Seal

fur seal,

fin-footed marine mammal of the eared seal family (Otaridae), highly valued for its fur. Like the closely related sea lionsea lion,
fin-footed marine mammal of the eared seal family (Otariidae). Like the other member of this family, the fur seal, the sea lion is distinguished from the true seal by its external ears, long, flexible neck, supple forelimbs, and hind flippers that can be turned forward
..... Click the link for more information.
, the nine species of fur seals are distinguished from the true sealseal,
carnivorous aquatic mammal with front and hind feet modified as flippers, or fin-feet. The name seal is sometimes applied broadly to any of the fin-footed mammals, or pinnipeds, including the walrus, the eared seals (sea lion and fur seal), and the true seals, also called
..... Click the link for more information.
 by external ears and the ability to turn their hind flippers forward for walking on land. The northern, or Alaskan, fur seal, Callorhinus ursinus, has an outer coat of long coarse hair known as guard hair and an inner coat of thick soft fur; it is the inner coat that is valued in the fur trade. Males are dark brown and females and young are grayish. The male is about 6 ft (1.8 m) long and weighs up to 600 lb (270 kg), while the smaller female is up to 4 ft (1.2 m) long and seldom weighs more than 110 lbs (50 kg). Herds of northern fur seals, mostly females and juveniles, winter in open ocean along the Pacific coast of North America, migrating in spring to breeding beaches that range from the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea to San Miguel Island off California. Adult males, who usually winter separately, arrive at the islands weeks ahead of the females. During the breeding season the most aggressive males establish individual territories and have harems averaging 40 to 50 females, which they defend against other males. Mating occurs after the birth of the young conceived the previous summer; each female bears a single pup after a gestation period of almost a year. The pups nurse for about a month but remain with the mother for another 2 or 3 months. Mothers often leave pups for days to feed on squid and fish. By the early 20th cent. the northern fur seal population was reduced to about 200,000 as the result of wanton slaughter. An international treaty signed in 1911 limited hunting to a fixed number of nonbreeding males per year. By 1976 the world population had increased to almost 2 million; since then it has declined, for reasons still unclear. The United States prohibited the hunting of fur seals in 1985. Southern fur seals, such as Arctocephalus gazella and other species, are similar in size and appearance to the northern fur seal. Although their fur is not considered desirable, they have been hunted almost to extinction. Both southern and northern fur seals migrate, while tropical species remain near their breeding grounds. Fur seals are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
..... Click the link for more information.
, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, suborder Pinnipedia, family Otariidae. See also Bering Sea Fur-Seal Controversy, under Bering SeaBering Sea,
c.878,000 sq mi (2,274,020 sq km), northward extension of the Pacific Ocean between Siberia and Alaska. It is screened from the Pacific proper by the Aleutian Islands. The Bering Strait connects it with the Arctic Ocean.
..... Click the link for more information.


See W. N. Bonner, Seals and Man (1982); J. E. King, Seals of the World (1983).

References in periodicals archive ?
Growth in the Antarctic fur seal Arctocephalus gazelle.
The South African Fur Seals - named Bronze, Tondy and Sefur - were brought from the SeaQuarium's parent company at West Midlands Safari Park.
In 1742 Georg Wilhelm Steller drew up the first scientific description of the fur seal after he had survived the wreck of the vessel commanded by Vitus Bering off what is now called Bering Island in the Commander Islands, U.
The research is a painstaking process of finding the fur seal and sea lion colonies, then counting, weighing and marking the animals to build up a detailed profile of the populations and their wellbeing.
This species, with a population size of up to 2 million seals (Anonymous, 1991), constitutes one of the largest fur seal populations in the world (Croxall and Gentry, 1987).
Later, the researchers witnessed a fur seal killing and eating a king penguin at sea.
Bobbing out in the tide you can spot the heads of New Zealand fur seals, parents also putting to sea at dawn while their babies play in rock pools on the shore.
Leopard seals, fur seals and the huge elephant seals are all evident and, with luck, you even find a whale's playground.
In 1983 amendments to the Fur Seal Act of 1966, separate trusts were established to enable the Pribilof Islands' municipal governments - St.
Fur seals are larger than normal seals, and can walk or even run on their flippers.
The man was attacked by a fur seal on South Georgia and an RAF helicopter was scrambled from the Falkland Islands.
He is said to be in a serious condition with a major injury to his arm after being bitten by what is believed to have been a fur seal, which can weigh up to 700lbs.