Juan Fernández fur seal

The population was once thought to be extinct until a group of 200 individuals was found on Juan Fernández islands in the 1960s


A remarkable creature of the sea, it is the second smallest fur seal species, with only the Galápagos fur seal being more diminutive in size. This species, known for its resilience and adaptability, has a captivating story of recovery and survival. They boast a dense, brown coat that is an effective barrier against the chill of the waters they inhabit. This thick, insulating fur is a defense against cold and a testament to their evolutionary journey, enabling them to thrive in their marine environment.

As members of the eared seal family, Juan Fernández fur seals are characterized by their small, external ear flaps, a feature that distinguishes them from their true seal relatives, who lack such visible ears. This distinction is more than superficial; it signifies differences in lifestyle and abilities, such as their greater agility in water and their ability to maneuver on land.

These seals have a fascinating dietary habit that reflects their adaptability and prowess as hunters. They predominantly forage in shallow reef areas, rich in marine biodiversity, making these zones ideal for finding food. Their diet mainly consists of squids, octopuses, and a variety of fish, showcasing their versatile hunting skills. At certain times of the year, these seals are known to venture into colder water currents, a testament to their ability to adapt in pursuit of sustenance.

The history of the Juan Fernández fur seal is a narrative of both tragedy and hope. After their discovery in the mid-16th century, these seals faced relentless hunting by humans, drawn to their dense fur, which was highly valued in the fur trade. This overexploitation led to a dramatic decline in their population, pushing them to the brink of extinction. However, in a testament to conservation efforts and the resilience of nature, the Juan Fernández fur seal has made a remarkable comeback from the verge of disappearance.


Population est.
Pacific ocean
Seasonality Uncertain

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No