Resolution in Support of Listing the Guadalupe Fur Seal as an Endangered Species

WHEREAS, the Guadalupe fur seal (Arctocephalus townsendi) suffered drastic depletion during sealing operations in the 19th and early 20th centuries and was considered to be extinct until a small colony was discovered in 1954 on Guadalupe Island, Mexico; and

WHEREAS, this seal's population may now number no more than 1,500 animals and breeds only on Guadalupe Island; and

WHEREAS, archeological evidence indicates that the species once bred on the California Channel Islands north to San Miguel Island and ranged north to Monterrey Bay, California; and

WHEREAS, in recent years, individuals of this species have been observed on shore in these areas; and

WHEREAS, modern gillnet fishing operations within its range in waters off southern California are known to kill numbers of California sea lions and therefore pose a threat to Guadalupe fur seals; and

WHEREAS, the possibility exists that this species may again, if its numbers are allowed to increase, form breeding colonies on ancestral breeding grounds on California Islands (as have the Northern fur seals on San Miguel Island); and

WHEREAS, a "Petition to list the Guadalupe fur seal, (Arctocephalus townsendi), as an Endangered Species" has been submitted to the Office of Protected Species and Habitat Conservation of the National Marine Fisheries Service, which has in turn entered the Petition in the Federal Register,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the American Society of Mammalogists urges the Secretary of Commerce to press for the earliest possible action to list the Guadalupe fur seal as an Endangered Species to be protected under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act of 1973.