Spatial distribution, demography and productivity of southern elephant seals of the Falkland Islands (2015-2019)

The dataseries includes data from surveys caried out during the breeding and the moulting season in the following places: Carcass Island, Saunders Island, Pebble Island and Islet, Kelp Point. Additionally, anecdotal observations of elephant seals carried out all over the Falklands by local people and visitors have been assembled and sources of information about elephant seals distribution in the past have been reviewed. These are the main results of this ongoing project: 1) The only notable breeding colonies with reliable counts are Sea Lion Island (650 breeding females), Carcass Island (175) and Saunders Island (13); 2) Breeding surely happens in some other places, but numbers are unknown; 3) Total Falklands breeding population is likely very small, a smaller that the main populations of the South George stock; 4) The Falklands are an hotspot for elephant seal moulting, the number of moulters is much greater than number of breeders, and the number of established moulting sites is much greater than the number of breeding colonies; 5) The vast majority of moulters are alien seals coming from other populations of the South Georgia stock; 6) We have confirmed resights of breeders coming to the Falklands for moulting belonging to the following populations: Valdes Peninsula, South Georgia, King George Island, Livingstone Island, Elephant Islands. All together, these results show a much greater presence of elephant seals in the Falklands than is usually assumed. Further information is available on the research group website,

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Last Updated December 21, 2020, 10:07 (PST)
Created January 30, 2020, 05:23 (PST)
Region Falkland Islands
Language eng
Topic Category Biota; flora and/or fauna in natural environment
Temporal Extent Start 2015-01-01
Temporal Extent End 2019-12-31
Dataset Reference Date 2019
Lineage Apart from Sea Lion Island, that is monitored intensively FK-ESRG-169) other elephant seal surveys were carried out in Carcass Island, Saunders Island, Bleaker Island, Pebble Island and Islet, Kelp Point. Seals, dividing them by sex and age, have been counted. The locations of individual seals and groups was obtained using commercial grade GPS receivers (accuracy about 5 meters). Data on breeding events were recorded opportunistically and any dead elephant seal or carcass found has been examined. In all places, except Carcass Island,elephant seals have been marked opportunistically by deploying plastic cattle tags with numbers in the inter-digital membrane of their rear flippers. During the breeding, the tagging of weaned pups has been prioritised, while during the moulting adult females have been tagget first. Resight of previously deployed tags, almost all of which from ESRG, have been recorded. To gather information from local people and visitors observing elephant seals various methods have been employed: 1) advertisements of the project on local radio and TV; 2) distribution of information material to landowners and tourist operators; 3) setting up an online report form and email address; 4) distribution of printed forms for reporting sightings. All data is being aggregated and processed in a geographic information system, together with data about past presence and distribution of elephant seals obtained from various sources. Further information is available on the project website, For access to data please contact the data owner
West Longitude 187477.46
South Latitude 4133693.23
East Longitude 452531.38
North Latitude 4341392.2
Spatial Reference System UTM 21S WGS84
Responsible Organisation Name Hidden (personal data protection)
Contact Mail Address Hidden (personal data protection)
Responsible Party Role Hidden (personal data protection)
Access Limitations Restricted, send data request to data owner
Use Constraints Restricted, but open subject to limitations and prior agreement with responsible organisation. Copyright must be cited
Resource Reference Copyright ESRG 1995-present - All Rights Reserved. Please contact ESRG before citing unpublished reports.
Data Format shape, pdf
Update Frequency annually
Accuracy Accuracy of mapping by navigation grade GPS (e.g. daily mapping of males) is 5 metres. Collection of all other data is compliant to usual research standards, and a great effort is put to guarantee high repeatability of data.
Resource Type Dataseries
Original Title Hidden (internal use only)
Metadata Date 2019-04-03
Metadata Point of Contact
Contact Consent Contact details hidden
Unique Resource ID FK-ESRG-386

Dataset extent

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