Subject: Gooch info sheet

mike williamson (williams@www1.wheelock.edu)
Fri, 7 Nov 1997 16:44:40 -0500 (EST)

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ISSUED:  November 7, 1997                       CONTACT:  Susan Gedutis,
(617) 973-5222

 !!  UPDATE  !!
Baby Seal Released in Maine Swims By Boston

(Boston, MA)  "Gooch," the baby harbor seal rescued by the New England
Aquarium last spring, has been doing lots of traveling since he was
released on October 9 in Biddeford, Maine.  This Thursday, November 6, he
swam within miles of Boston, according to information provided by the
satellite transmitting tag Aquarium scientists attached before he was
released.  This is the first time the New England Aquarium has
satellite-tagged an orphaned harbor seal pup before its reintroduction to
the wild.

Since his release, Gooch has traveled more than 500 miles, at times as far
as 50 miles out to sea.  He even took a weekend excursion up the Kennebec
River, north of Bath, ME.  He swam so far up river that the salinity
trigger on his tag shut off because of the amount of fresh water.  (The tag
switches on and off by a conductivity switch that senses the salt in salt
water.)

"While we always suspected that young seals travel quite a bit after they
are released from our rescue program, this is still surprising," said Greg
Early, Aquarium scientist who's been tracking Gooch.  "So far the tracking
information is very good.  We've received locations almost every day since
he was released, and every day we learn about his diving and behavioral
patterns.  We know he's dived more than 4,500 times so far, and his deepest
dives were over 100 meters deep, although he seems to spend most of his
time at the surface.

By tracking this harbor seal, the New England Aquarium scientists hope to
learn more about how released seals re-integrate into the wild.  They also
hope to learn more about the movement and behavior seals in general  It is
hoped that this information will tell more about seals' role in the
ecosystem.

Daily updates are posted on the Internet at Whale Net at
http://whale.wheelock.edu/, and the New England Aquarium's Aquarium Medical
Center exhibit.  WhaleNet sponsored the tagging project.

The New England Aquarium has been an official rescue and rehabilitation
center for marine animals in the Northeast since 1972.  The goal of the
Marine Animal Rescue Program is to provide humane care and medical
treatment to suffering or stranded marine animals and, if possible, to
return fully recovered animals to the ocean.  To date, the Aquarium has
rescued and returned to the ocean more than 250 seals, five whales, two
dolphins, two harbor porpoises and numerous endangered and threatened sea
turtles.  The help of concerned citizens and coastal residents is integral
to the success of the New England Aquarium/Fleet Bank Marine Animal Rescue
Team.

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______________________________________
Susan Gedutis, Senior Publicist/Publications Coordinator
New England Aquarium, Central Wharf, Boston, MA  02110
Phone:  (617) 973-5222, Fax: (617) 723-9705
http://www.neaq.org/