Northern Fur Seals, hauled out on a beach along the shore of St. Paul Island, Alaska. One of the real thrills of visiting this remote place was the chance to see these massive seals. About 70% of the global population breeds on St. Paul - perhaps 500,000 seals - so they aren't hard to find. The bulls come ashore first, and establish territories. Later, the cows arrive and a real stud bull might have up to 40 in his territory.
Northern Fur Seals are the reason that the Pribilof Islands are now inhabited. The Russians discovered seals here in the 1700's, and essentially enslaved Aleuts that were living in the Aleutian chain and brought them to St. Paul and St. George islands. There, the native peoples were forced to harvest and prepare seals for the Russians, who made enormous profits from the animals.
Fur Seals are declining, and birth rates have fallen to alarming levels in some recent seasons. The population drop probably has nothing to do with the limited subsistence harvesting by native peoples; rather, it speaks to overfishing of the Bering Sea by commercial fisherman, most likely.