Elephant Seal Survey
We need your help !
Where do elephant seals breed and moult in the Falkland Islands ?
Southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) are found at low latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere and have a circum-Antarctic distribution. During the 1800s and early 1900s, elephant seals were killed by sealers at most places where they breed. In the Falkland Islands sealing was indiscriminate, and the species was almost taken to extinction.
In recent years the numbers of elephant seals has apparently increased. Although the Elephant Seal Research Group carried out a detailed long-term study of the main breeding colony of elephant seals in the islands, Sea Lion Island, the current number, status and distribution of breeding elephant seals in the rest of the Falklands is unknown. Moreover, data collected at Sea Lion Island, and anecdotal information from elsewhere, suggest that the Falklands may be a very important moulting site for elephant seals belonging to various populations of the South Georgia stock. Therefore, the Falklands can have a very important role in the elephant seal annual cycle.
The determination of number and distribution of elephant seals in the Falklands is not an easy task, due to the very long coastline and the large number of islands and islets. A proper aerial survey is too expensive for our current budget and, therefore, we need as much help as possible from local people and visitors. If you have seen elephant seals breeding or moulting, please fill up the questionnaire. If you are sure that elephant seals do not breed or moult in some places, also please let us know. We are interested in current sightings, but also in reports from the past. Any information, even if not very accurate, is useful, but please try to locate the sightings in space and time the best you can.
If you have any queries about this questionnaire, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you very much for your collaboration !!!
Filippo Galimberti & Simona Sanvito
Elephant Seal Research Group
Conservation Officer, FIG