Fur seals leave Galapagos and head for Peru

February 8th, 2010

A colony of fur seals (lobos marinos finos) has moved 1,500km away from the Galapagos Islands, a Peru-based organisation which monitors the aquatic mammals has said.

Galapagos Fur Seals (Derek Keats)

Galapagos Fur Seals (Derek Keats)

The Organisation for Research and Conservation of Aquatic Animals says the fur seals have swum to northern Peru because of rising temperatures, climate change apparently to blame. According to experts, this is the first time fur seals have set up a colony away from the famous islands, 900km west off continental Ecuador, first visited by British naturalist Charles Darwin more than 150 years ago.

The Peruvian Geophysics Institute indicates that the sea surface temperature in the northern Peruvian provinces of Piura and Tumbes have steadily risen from an average of 17C to 23C over the last 10 years.

The temperature is much closer to the sea temperature around the Galapagos Islands, which averages about 25C.

Now that the conditions of the sea around northern Peru are so similar to the Galapagos, they say, even more fur seals and other new marine species could start arriving.

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