Most of the global population of South American Fur Seals is concentrated in Uruguay (200,000-250,000 animals). About 55% of the fur seals in Uruguayan waters are found at Isla de Lobos (ca. 180,000 animals; ca. 35,000 pups born per year). The remaining animals are distributed in the area of Cabo Polonio and Islas de la Coronilla. An additional 15-20 000 animals are found in the Malvinas-Falklands. The population along the Argentine Patagonian coast is about 20 000 animals (the largest colony is in Isla Rasa with 12 000 fur seals). The Chilean population is estimated to be 30 000 fur seals. The Peruvian population was estimated to be 11,400 during an El Niño year (Arias-Schreiber 1998). Therefore, the population global population is roughly 250-300 000 fur seals. The population of coastal Patagonia is increasing at about 8% per year. A decrease from 102,000 to 30.000 has been reported for the Chilean population (Sielfeld 1999, Venegas et al. 2002). El Niño years have dramatic effects on the Peruvian population.
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