Description of the Galapagos fur seal
The Galapagos fur seal (Arctocephalus galapagoensis) is a species of marine mammal in the sea lion family, endemic to the Galapagos Islands. It has a dark brown coat on the back, with lighter hairs on the belly. Males can reach a length of 5 feet and a weight of 200 pounds, while females are smaller, reaching about 4 feet and a weight of 77 pounds. Galapagos fur seals are very agile on land and in the water. They have powerful flippers that allow them to swim at speeds of up to 15 mph and dive to depths of over 330 feet in search of food. They are very social and can form groups of several hundred individuals. They are also very curious and can often approach humans to observe them. They feed mainly on fish and cephalopods, such as squid and octopus. Galapagos fur seals are classified as "threatened" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), mainly due to the decrease of their natural habitat and overfishing in the region. However, conservation measures implemented in the Galapagos Islands have contributed to the recovery of some populations.
When to see them?
Galapagos fur seals can be observed all year round in the Galapagos Islands. However, some periods of the year can offer particularly interesting observation opportunities: - Between December and May, females give birth to their young, which can be a fascinating sight to see. The newborns are often very curious and may approach humans. - Between June and November, Galapagos fur seals gather on the beaches to rest and protect themselves from the sun. This is also the time of year when the males seek to reproduce and engage in territorial fights to attract females.
Where to observe them?
Galapagos fur seals are found on all the Galapagos islands. However, the best islands to observe them are those that have a significant population of this species, such as Fernandina, Isabela and Santa Fe.