New Zealand Fur Seal

Scientific Name:
Arctocephalus forsteri
1.5 - 2.5 m (4.9 - 6.6 ft)
male: 250 kg (550 lbs); female: 30 - 50 kg (66 - 110 lb)
good to go
Mainly squid and small mid-water fish; sometimes conger eels, barracude, jack mackerel and hoki

Physical characteristics

They have a pointed nose and long whiskers. The coloration is dark brown to gray with a lighter underside. Males have a long, thick mane.

Behavioral characterization

They can dive uo to 270 m. Males are known to set up rookeries where the females come to breed and raise their young. They go through a molting period after the breeding season finishes.


The southern coasts of Australia and the coasts of New Zealand.

Population size

Ca. 200,000


Great white shark, Sevengill shark, sometimes killer whales and leopard seals.

Migration/Dispersal patterns

Do not migrate.

Social system/Group size

One male forms harems of 5 to 8 females during the breeding season.

Major threats

They are mainly threatened by entanglement in fishing gear and harassment by the public.

Research efforts

The DOC's Conservation Services Program researches the impact of fishing and tourism and monitors the population.

Fun fact

Like all fur seals, the New Zealand fur seal is actually a sea lion - this can be most easily noted in its external ear flippers.