The estimation of life-history parameters for a threatened species is important for understanding its biology and helping to determine management options. This research investigates age- and sex-related survival estimates incorporating tag loss for New Zealand (NZ) sea lions (Phocarctos hookeri) from Sandy Bay, Enderby Island, Auckland Islands, New Zealand, using multistate mark–recapture data from known-age individuals over 8 years (1997–1998 to 2005–2006). Survival estimates and tag loss rates differed significantly by sex and age class, with adult males having the lowest tag retention of any age or sex class and females ≥ 3 years old having lower survival estimates than their male counterparts. The variability and lower female survival relative to males is a critical problem for NZ sea lions, because even small changes in adult female survival significantly affect population trends for such large, long-lived mammals.
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Vol. 91 • No. 3