T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Seal (Fur) Arctocephalus forsteri

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Pinnipedia
Family: Otariidae 
Subfamily: Arctocephalinae
Genus: Arctocephalus
Species: A. forsteri
Scientific name: Arctocephalus forsteri
Comman name: New Zealand Fur Seal,Southern Fur Seal, Kekeno (Maori),Australasian Fur Seal.

New Zealand fur seals (Arctocephalus forsteri, or kekeno) are found around New Zealand and its offshore islands, and southern Australia. Excavation of midden sites shows that when Polynesians arrived about 1300 AD, fur seals became an important source of food. By the time Europeans arrived in the late 1700s the seals had been all but wiped out, save for colonies on the South Island’s sparsely inhabited south-western coast. The pale-faced sealers finished off the remaining few and severely depleted numbers on the Chatham Islands, Bounty Islands and subantarctic islands – all for their pelts and the oil rendered from their blubber. On the tiny Bounty Islands, numbers went from 52,000 in 1800 down to five by 1831. There has been considerable recovery since 16,000 were estimated there in 1980
The above text from Lloyd Spencer Davis. 'Seals - New Zealand fur seal', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 2-Mar-09 URL: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/seals/5

The New Zealand fur seal has been recorded diving deeper and for longer than any other species of fur seal ). Fur seals, along with sea lions, are members of the Otariidae family, distinguished from true seals by external ears and forward rotating hind flippers, which assist with movement over land . The New Zealand fur seal has a distinctly pointed muzzle with a somewhat bulbous nose, and long pale whiskers . The adult males is up to three times the weight of the adult female, and has a massive neck with a coarse mane that extends from the top of the head down to the chest and shoulders (7) (8). The adult coat is generally dark grey-brown above (appearing almost black when wet) and paler below, with the female being notably paler on the underside of the neck and chest . New Zealand fur seal pups are initially blackish, except for a pale muzzle and undersides, but moult into the adult coat after two to three months.

Visit Department of Conservation web pages on the New Zealand Fur Seal

A seal asleep at the base of Paritutu Rock, New Plymouth.

A small seal a sleep, photographed 17.7.09 under the walkway bridge over the Te Henui stream.


NZ fur seal (Arctocephalus forsteri) pups wander to this inland waterfall near Kaikoura, New Zealand, every winter. They leave the coast when their mothers go out to sea for feeding and go back to the coast after several days for feeding when their mothers come back. At the waterfall the pups remain amongst themselves, no adult seal around. They learn swimming, playing and social skills. They are not afraid of humans watching them and explore their environment, in the water and outside. It is one of the most amazing kindergartens you can imagine, in the middle of a forest - but, as said, only operational during New Zealand's winter months in the middle of the year.

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/