The Population Of Leopard Seals Essays

1396 Words Dec 8th, 2016 6 Pages
The newest circumpolar estimate of the total population of leopard seals estimates them at more than 35,000 individuals, however this is most likely an understatement, as they have a circumpolar distribution with latitudes between 50°S and 80°S (Danco). Considering they are a widespread species, it is incredibly tough and costly to consistently attempt to research their population number. Leopard seals have an incredible range of movement with vagrants and immature individuals observed in places much farther than the Antarctic north such as Australia, South America, New Zealand, and South Africa (spatial). Vagrants consist of Subantarctic sightings have been seen throughout winter, usually peaking in August or September but are absent from late spring to mid-autumn. There have been changes of global estimates for leopard seals throughout the past 50 years, with the estimated range of 100,000-300,000 in 1958 and 220,000-440,000 animals in 1984. After a survey was conducted in 2012, a new estimate of 35,500 was released, however there is still uncertainty about this.
Because leopard seals, one of the top predators in the Antarctic ecosystem, have a circumpolar distribution and migrate to different areas with distinct environments, they have an adaptive diet and prey varies depending on the season and location. The foraging ecology of leopard seals has been well-documented by various methods such as collecting faeces, observing predatory behavior, and examining stomach…

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