Weddell seal

The Weddell seal is a relatively abundant seal found all around Antarctica. It takes its name from the captain of the expedition ship which first described it in 1820.

Born at 25-30kg, pups generally double their birth weight in the first week. The pups will start swimming after a week or two, and are weened after around 6 weeks and start hunting independently.

Generally 6-8 years old before they first breed, though females can be far younger. They can live to be 25 years old. They are the second most numerous in Antarctic waters, with a population thought to number around 200,000.

Population counts are not regularly done, as with the population being so widespread it is very expensive. Increasing resolution of satellite images might allow a closer more regular eye to be kept on these seals.

In the early days of Antarctic exploration they were overhunted, but since this time their numbers have recovered. Its current status is considered least concern.

See Animals Wild