In 2010, the largest part of the Steller sea lion breeding community on Tyuleniy Island was located on the harem rookery of northern fur seals, which occupied the eastern beach, as well as on the western side of the island, which was free of fur seals. At the culmination of harem activity on June 29, 26.5% of the animals at the age of 1+ concentrated on the eastern beach and 41.1%, on the western beach in the daytime. However, 52.3% of the pups were born on the eastern beach and only 30.4% were born on the western beach. Pups were also present on the capes: 9.1% of the pups were observed on the northern cape and 8.2% on the southern cape, while the main population on these sites consisted of non-harem bulls, bachelors, and young animals. At the peak of harem activity, the number of females per one harem bull was 13.1 at sites 1 to 3 of the eastern beach and each of them, on average, had 1.05 pups; on sites 7–12 there were, respectively, 9.1 females and 1.42 pups per female, and on the western beach, 21.7 females and 0.64 pups. The resulting abundance of sea lions on Tyuleniy Island in 2010 exceeded 1500, which was almost ten times as many as their number in 1989. A total of about 100 bulls, 60 harem bulls, 1000 females, and 700 pups were recorded there. Half-bulls and young animals amounted to one-third of the entire population. Meanwhile the overall sex ratio at the culmination of harem activity was 11.5 females per one bull and 18.8 per one harem bull. About 75% of the females belonged to the parous group. The mortality rate among newborns reached 5.4%. No mortality was observed in adults. As many as 133 previously branded Steller sea lions were found and 109 of them (81.9%) were immigrants. Among immigrants, 29% were branded individuals of reproductive groups from the Kuril Islands, 54% were from the Iony Islands, 16% were from the Yamsky Islands, and about 1% were from Kamchatka. Four-year-old individuals predominated among the branded immigrants (23.8%). The oldest Steller sea lion (21 years of age) was one that was branded on the Srednego Islands in 1989. The rate of marked animal return from 175 pups that were branded on Tyuleniy Island the year before was 13.8%.
Russian Journal of Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 8, 2012
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