IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
IUCN Evaluation of the South American Fur Seal, Arctocephalus australis
Prepared by the Pinniped Specialist Group
A. Population reduction Declines measured over the longer of 10 years or 3 generations
A1 CR > 90%; EN > 70%; VU > 50%
Al. Population reduction observed, estimated, inferred, or suspected in the past where the causes of the reduction are clearly reversible AND understood AND have ceased, based on and specifying any of the following:
(a) direct observation
(b) an index of abundance appropriate to the taxon
(c) a decline in area of occupancy (AOO), extent of occurrence (EOO) and/or habitat quality
(d) actual or potential levels of exploitation
(e) effects of introduced taxa, hybridization, pathogens, pollutants, competitors or parasites.
No integrated census data are available for the entire distribution range. Most of the population is concentrate on a few islands of Uruguay and the best available data suggest that numbers are expanding. A population decrease is possible for the Pacific side of the distribution and may be = 50% for colonies breeding in Chile. The Peruvian population is also under the strong impact of El Niño. In Argentina, the population is relatively small, but it is increasing. Due to a large proportion of the global population being stable or perhaps increasing, the criteria of population reduction do not apply at the species level.
A2, A3 & A4 CR > 80%; EN > 50%; VU > 30%
A2. Population reduction observed, estimated, inferred, or suspected in the past where the causes of reduction may not have ceased OR may not be understood OR may not be reversible, based on (a) to (e) under A1.
Commercial harvesting has ceased and any local reductions are due to El Niño and to competition with fisheries, but these negative effects occur at a local level rather across the entire distribution range. Therefore, these criteria do not apply for the species.
A3. Population reduction projected or suspected to be met in the future (up to a maximum of 100 years) based on (b) to (e) under A1.
A reduction in numbers at the species level may occur if climate change increases the impact of El Niño in the Pacific side of the distribution. However, thus far the numbers in the Uruguayan islands are stable or increasing.
A4. An observed, estimated, inferred, projected or suspected population reduction (up to a maximum of 100 years) where the time period must include both the past and the future, and where the causes of reduction may not have ceased OR may not be understood OR may not be reversible, based on (a) to (e) under A1.
A reduction in numbers at the species level may occur if climate change increases the impact of El Niño in the Pacific side of the distribution. However, thus far as the numbers in the Uruguayan islands are stable or increasing. Local colony reductions are not currently significant in terms of total global population size.
B. Geographic range in the form of either B1 (extent of occurrence) AND/OR B2 (area of occupancy)
B1. Extent of occurrence (EOO): CR
The EOO is > 20,000 km².
B2. Area of occupancy (AOO): CR
The AOO is > 2,000 km².
AND at least 2 of the following:
(a) Severely fragmented, OR number of locations: CR = 1; EN (b) Continuing decline in any of: (i) extent of occurrence; (ii) area of occupancy; (iii) area, extent and/or quality of habitat; (iv) number of locations or subpopulations; (v) number of mature individuals.
(c) Extreme fluctuations in any of: (i) extent of occurrence; (ii) area of occupancy; (iii) number of locations or subpopulations; (iv) number of mature individuals.
C. Small population size and decline
Number of mature individuals: CR
Number of mature individuals is likely > 10,000.
AND either C1 or C2:
C1. An estimated continuing decline of at least: CR = 25% in 3 years or 1 generation; EN = 20% in 5 years or 2 generations; VU = 10% in 10 years or 3 generations (up to a max. of 100 years in future)
C2. A continuing decline AND (a) and/or (b):
(a i) Number of mature individuals in each subpopulation: CR or
(a ii) % individuals in one subpopulation: CR = 90–100%; EN = 95–100%; VU = 100%
(b) Extreme fluctuations in the number of mature individuals.
D. Very small or restricted population
Number of mature individuals: CR AND/OR restricted area of occupancy typically: AOO
E. Quantitative analysis
Indicating the probability of extinction in the wild to be: CR > 50% in 10 years or 3 generations (100 years max.); EN > 20% in 20 years or 5 generations (100 years max.); VU > 10% in 100 years
There has been no quantitative analysis of the probability of extinction.
Listing recommendation — Globally, the South American Fur Seal should be classified as Least Concern. However, particular attention should be paid to local populations in the Pacific. It is possible that the Peruvian and northern Chilean populations are a different stock that may qualify for a threatened status.
- 1996Lower Risk/least concern