The rest of the fur seal story is
much happier. In 1931 a scientific expedition discovered a small breeding
colony of a few hundred on Bird Island.
The decline of the fur seal coincided
with the rise of whaling. Baleen whales and fur seals both feed on the
same food - krill. As the whales were slaughtered in ever increasing
numbers so there was ever more krill available for the fur seals to
By the end of the 1950's the world
population stood at about 5 000, by 1976 on South Georgia alone it had
reached 100 000. In 1993 the estimated population was around 1.5 million
with more and more seals being found further away from South Georgia
and beginning to breed further afield too. The population in 2000 was
estimated to be around 4 million though this is based on projected figures
So altogether this is a story of a
remarkable come-back almost from the brink of extinction to one of a
very large and healthy population of these wonderful creatures.
Photo; © Paul Ward - Pentax equipment,
100mm lens, 35mm film, K64.
This picture may not be copied or
used in any manner without prior written permission.