Galapagos Fur Seals on the Move

As one of those who have been to the Galapagos Islands and had his mental landscape moved, I’m always interested when some mention of the area surfaces in the news. This week it is that some 30 fur seals from the Galapagos have set up housekeeping, for the first time, 1,000 miles further south, and east, on Foca island off Peru. Unfortunately the information provided so far has not been very complete (Telegraph, UK, Christian Science Monitor, and BBC.)

The main source seems to be ORCA Peru (Organization of Research and Conservation of Aquatic Animals), though there is nothing on their site about it. They are quoted as saying that the colonization is because the waters around the Peruvian Foca island has risen some 7 degrees C, in a decade, to about 23, a temperature the seals favor. Nothing is said, in any of the articles, however, about the temperature around the Galapagos. That is, assuming the Foca temperature is propitious why would that produce a move? Is the temperature around the Galapagos also increasing, and uncomfortably warm? Do the seals migrate, say way south, and Foca is simply on the way home, has favorable temperature and so, why go on? Is the colony on Foca indicative of anything untoward at the Galapagos? Is the colony there diminished, ill?

So, while it is interesting that (some) of the seals have found a new home, at least for one season, it is really only a footnote, something to keep an eye on, not a major indicator of anything.

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