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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X

Abstract

SEPULVEDA, MARITZA et al. Distribution and abundance of the South American sea lion Otaria flavescens (Carnivora: Otariidae) along the central coast off Chile. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2011, vol.84, n.1, pp.97-106. ISSN 0716-078X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0716-078X2011000100007.

The onshore distribution and abundance of the South American sea lion Otaria flavescens along the central Chilean coast was estimated during the period January-February 2007. Additionally, changes in population abundance during the period 1970-2007 were examined. Population surveys were based on photographs taken from boats or aircraft. A total of 16301 sea lions (CI = 16209-16375) were counted in 33 colonies (6 breeding and 27 non-breeding sites). After correction to account for the proportion of individuals at sea and for pups not seen at the time of the survey, the mean estimated abundance was 18179 (95 % CI = 17777-18851) sea lions. Population trend analysis showed that from 1970 to 1985, South American sea lions showed a positive increase of approximately 2.1 % yr-1. Nevertheless, between 1985 and 1997 and between 1997 and 2007, the estimated number of sea lions showed a stable or slightly negative trend of 0.4 ± 0.1 % yr-1and 0.5 ± 0.1 % yr-1, respectively. We suggest that the overexploitation and decline of the principal fisheries in Central Chile could adversely impact the abundance and distribution of the South American sea lion in the study area.

Keywords : census; Chilean coast; Otaria flavescens; overexploitation; sea lions.

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