Maned Seal

Seals – Maned seals (Otaria flavescens) belong to the eared seals and are also called South American sea lions. Its distribution area extends over the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of South America from southern Brazil, via Argentina, Chile to southern Peru and the Falkland Islands.

As with all eared seals, the bulls of the maned seals grow significantly larger than the females. Males reach a weight of up to 350 kg and over 2.5 m, while females only weigh up to about 150 kg. The bulls have a distinctive, usually lighter mane.

The maned seals live together in their colonies in so-called harem groups. During the mating season in the Australian summer (December-February), bulls gather up to ten females around them and defend their harm against competing bulls.

Males and females differ not only in weight and body size, but also in their hunting behavior. In general, South American sea lions feed mainly on benthic fish. While females usually hunt in coastal areas, males dive much deeper and further away from the coast for fish. The seals' whiskers – the so-called vibrissae – are able to perceive the smallest water turbulences. In this way, the maned seals find their prey even in the dark or in murky waters.

Maned seals were hunted intensively, especially at the beginning of the 19th century, which has drastically reduced the world population. In the meantime, they are protected everywhere and the population has recovered and the maned seal is classified as not endangered by the IUCN .

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