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1 April 2013 Occurrence of Vagrant Leopard Seals, Hydrurga leptonyx, Along the South African Coast
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Abstract

Leopard seals inhabit the pack-ice rim of Antarctica, and they regularly haul out on Antarctic and Sub-antarctic islands. Occasionally, vagrants are sighted further north in South America, Australia, New Zealand, and very rarely in southern Africa and Oceania. Here we report on an observation made on the 15th of July 2010 of a single 3-m-long juvenile leopard seal at ‘Die Dam’ in the Western Cape, South Africa (34°45.772′S, 19°42.582′E). We searched historical records and found details of four observations of leopard seals along the coast of South Africa since 1946. All of these sightings were of juvenile animals. The relative scarcity of observations is a likely reflection of the great distance from Antarctica and the Subantarctic to South Africa.

Katja Vinding, Michael Christiansen, Greg J. Hofmeyr, Wilfred Chivell, Roy McBride, and Marthán N. Bester "Occurrence of Vagrant Leopard Seals, Hydrurga leptonyx, Along the South African Coast," South African Journal of Wildlife Research 43(1), 84-86, (1 April 2013). https://doi.org/10.3957/056.043.0101
Received: 3 August 2013; Accepted: 1 May 2013; Published: 1 April 2013
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