The long-nosed fur seal
Long-nosed fur seal
Image: Fiona Hume
) is found in Western Australia, South Australia and New Zealand. In Tasmanian waters, it mainly occurs on the west and south coasts. Only a small number of long-nosed fur seals (previously known as the New Zealand fur seal) breed on remote islands off the south coast. The total population in Tasmania is 4000-4500. About 1000 pups are born annually. Like the Australian fur seal, not all pups will survive. Australia-wide, the population is estimated to be 58,000.
It is very difficult to tell the difference between the Australian fur seal and the long-nosed fur seal. The long-nosed fur seal is slightly smaller than the Australian fur seal and are best distinguished from this species by their much darker colouration. For more positive identification, a suite of other morphological and behavioural characteristics needs to be considered. These include: head shape; 'vibrissae' or whiskers; posture; terrestrial locomotion and vocalisations.
The long-nosed fur seal's main prey includes redbait and jack mackerel and myctophid fish species. Unlike the Australian fur seal, it also consumes seabirds such as little penguins and shearwaters.
The species is listed as rare under the
Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995
due to their low numbers. In Tasmania, the population may be as low as only several thousand and they have not re-populated traditional areas such as Bass Strait. Please see our
Living with Wildlife
pages for further details.