The population of South American fur seals in 1999 was estimated at 390,000, a drop from a 1987 estimation of 500,000. Although overall species numbers are healthy, the downward trend is causing some concern. Uruguay has the largest numbers of seals along its coast, numbering over 200,000. Peru’s number dropped to only 40 in the 1940’s, but subsequent protection has brought the numbers back up to about 20,000 by the 1980s. Because of the El Nino events and general overfishing along the Pacific coast of South America, the population in the Pacific is not recovering as quickly as it could. Presently, Peru has had a problem with fishermen illegally killing South American fur seals, claiming that the seals interfere with fishing operations and diminish the anchovy numbers. In the Falkland Islands, where commercial hunting greatly reduced their numbers, the population now contains about 15,000 seals. There are approximately 40,000 seals in Chile and 3,000 in Argentina. Arctocephalus australis is on appendix 2 of the CITIES. (Reeves, et al. 1992, Couturier 1996, Jefferson, et al. 1994)
CITES: appendix ii
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
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