Leucistic Antarctic Fur Seal

Around 95% of all Antarctic Fur Seals in the world live on Antarctica. Or at least, they breed there. Later in the season the spread out a bit more. In the late 18th and 19th century these fur seals were all but exterminated by heavy hunting by sealers. In 1825 an estimated 1.200.000 fur seal pelts were taken from the islands.  by the end of the 19th century there were hardly any fur seals left…

Since then the population has recovered with over 3 million individuals populating the South Georgian shores again. However the population has gone through a narrow genetic bottleneck, taking away much of the genetic diversity. Because of this the usually very rare leucistic animals are a lot more common in this species compared to other species. Here on on the beach of Half Moon Island (in the back you see animals in the normal colour).

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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