Sea lions + fur seals

At present there are 33 pinniped species. The Caribbean monk seal has been made extinct by humans.  The present species belong to three families:

  • Phocaidea: 18 species
  • Otariidea: 14 species
  • Odobenidea: 1 species

On a global scale, it is estimated that there are approximately 50 million pinnipeds. About 90 % of them are seals. Of these, just one species, the crab eater seal in the Antarctic, is estimated to have 30 million specimens, making up about 60% of the global total of pinnipeds. All other species exist in much smaller numbers with the Mediterranean monk seal (500 specimens left) and the Hawaiian monk seal (1,500 specimen left) being the most worrying cases. Both species are in great danger of becoming extinct in the near future.

The family “otariidea” (eared seals) is divided into two subfamilies: Arctocephalinae (fur seals) and Otariinae (sea lions). These groups were separated in their evolutionary development probably two million years ago.

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Page author: Stefan Austermühle

Reviewed by: Carolyn Perkins

Last updated: 2010.06.02

In Peru, we have one species of each subfamiliy. Please read more below:

Natural history of the South American sea lion (Otaria byronia)

Save the sea lions

Natural history of the Southern fur seal (Arctocephalus australis)

Save fur seals

Marine ecotourism is a great way of helping to conserve sea lions. Take a tour and swim or dive with sea lions in Peru with our associated travel operator Nature Expeditions.

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