Leopard seals are distributed around the Antarctic continent principally between 50°S and 80°S though they are known to wander even farther north, particularly to Australia, New Zealand, South America, and South Africa, and several sub-Antarctic Islands. Seasonal movements of leopard seals have been correlated with seasonal changes in the distribution of sea ice with seals moving north as sea ice develops in spring and winter and southward toward the Antarctic continent as it melts in late autumn and winter. On August 9, 2013, an emaciated juvenile male leopard seal was observed swimming in Bounty Bay at Pitcairn Island (25°4′S, 130°6′W). It was found ashore at a boat ramp in the bay the next day. Because of the seal’s apparent distress, it was promptly shot and killed humanely by an island police officer and then dumped at sea before any measurements or additional observations could be made. We estimated the seal to be a 10-month-old pup, about 1.8–2 m long. The appearance of this leopard seal at Pitcairn Island is only slightly farther south than the most northern record (the Cook Islands, 21°25′S, 159°8′W) for the species, but it is the most remote occurrence yet documented worldwide and correlates with the all-time record for sea ice coverage in the Antarctic in winter 2013.
The data in this occurrence resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 1 records.
This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.
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How to cite
Researchers should cite this work as follows:
Stewart B S, Grove J S (2024). An extreme wandering leopard seal, Hydrurga leptonyx, at Pitcairn Island, central South Pacific. Version 1.0. Southwestern Pacific Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) Node. Occurrence dataset. https://nzobisipt.niwa.co.nz/resource?r=leopardseal_pitcairn&v=1.0
Researchers should respect the following rights statement:
The publisher and rights holder of this work is Southwestern Pacific Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) Node. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY 4.0) License.
This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 71c8e9e5-3c7e-48eb-889c-9e364bff3dba. Southwestern Pacific Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) Node publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by Ocean Biodiversity Information System.
- Metadata Provider ●
- Originator ●
- Point Of Contact
|South West [-25.08, -130.124], North East [-25.059, -130.087]
|Hydrurga leptonyx (Leopard Seal)
|Start Date / End Date
|2013-08-09 / 2013-08-10
- Stewart, B.S., Grove, J.S. An extreme wandering leopard seal, Hydrurga leptonyx, at Pitcairn Island, central South Pacific. Polar Biol 37, 423–425 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-014-1447-4
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