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    Entanglement of Antarctic fur seals Arctocephalus gazella in man made debris at Bird Island, South Georgia during the 1997 winter and 1997/98 pup-rearing season

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    Delegation of the United Kingdom

    Results of the survey of entanglements of Antarctic fur seals at Bird Island, South Georgia for the eighth consecutive winter (1997) and tenth consecutive summer (1997/98) are reported here. Only seven seals were observed entangled in the winter, a drop of 59% from 1996. Four of these records were from adult females, a much higher proportion than in previous years. The number of entanglements in the summer was the lowest recorded to date, being 52% lower than in 1996/97. The percentage of entanglements in packaging bands was higher than recent years in both summer and winter. Only one seal sustained a severe injury in the winter, no such cases were observed in summer. The summer observations were mainly of juvenile fur seals, with equal numbers of each sex when identified. The observed drop in entanglements is encouraging, but the incidence of packaging bands as collars has not decreased. This highlights the need for sustained monitoring and continuing publicity aimed at preventing the disposal of debris at sea.