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Seals and Sea Lions (Pinnipedia)


The Pinnipedia encompasses three extant families of fin-footed, semiaquatic marine mammals: Odobenidae (the walrus), Otariidae (the eared seals), and Phocidae (the true seals); 33 species overall. Pinnipeds nowadays are placed within the order Carnivora, but they are very distinct, and recognition of the traditional order Pinnipedia is reasonable. Pinnipeds spend most of their lives in the water, but come ashore or atop of ice floes to mate, give birth, and molt. Most species occur in the colder waters of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres where their food (fish, squid or krill) is abundant. Humans traditionally hunted the Pinnipedia for meat, blubber, and skins. Besides harvest, many species are threatened by pollution and overexploitation of marine resources. One or two species are already extinct.


    Eared Seals
    True Seals
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