Wadadli status 3 NOV 2002

From: mwilliamson mwilliamson (mwilliamson@wheelpock.edu)
Date: Mon Nov 04 2002 - 07:28:47 EST

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    This is the third progress report after Wadadli the hooded seal1s release 3
    weeks ago. We (Keith Matassa [MARC-UNE], Greg Early, J. Michael Williamson
    [WhaleNet] and myself) will provide updates on its movement from
    radiotelemetry data and its status weekly.

    * SpeciesŠHooded seal (Cystophora cristata)
    * Field numberŠNEPST628
    * Date of strandingŠ12 August 2001
    * Locality of strandingŠRunaway Beach, St. John1s, Antigua, Antiguaand
    Barbuda (17°061N, 61°501W)
    * Date of transport to Puerto Rico1s CMML-UMETŠ13 August 2001
    * Gender and relative age: Male, blue-back (est. 5 months old)
    * Length, girth, and weight upon arrival at CMML-UMETŠ108 cm (3.5ft), 28 kg
    (61 lb)
    * Date of transfer to Maine1s MARC-UNEŠ29 March 2002
    * Length and weight upon arrival at MARC-UNEŠ121 cm (3.9 ft), 87 kg(192 lb)

    * Date of releaseŠ17 October 2002
    * Length and weight upon releaseŠ150 cm (4.9 ft), 105 kg (231 lb)
    * Relative ageŠHopper (est. 1 year and 7 months old)
    * Flipper tagŠHind flipper tag with maroon (reddish) colored tag with 322
    * Satellite transmitterŠA SPOT2 (smart position and temperature tag)
    wildlife computers satellite tag (single C-cell battery, 86x47x36 mm,
    185grams) was placed by Greg Early just behind the seal1s neck at 8:45
    AM.ARGOS satellites (ARGOS System in Largo, MD and Talouse, France)
    receiving transmission from tag 01656 without problems.
    * Locality of releaseŠGranite Point Cove, Biddeford, York, Maine(43°24.431N,
    * Time of transport to release siteŠ11:00 AM
    * Time of releaseŠ11:30 AM
    * BehaviorŠThe seal hopped to the beach from its crate without difficulties
    until it reached the wash line of the shore. At that time, it stopped and
    needed a little prodding to enter the water. It played on the surf and with
    floating sargassum for some minutes. It ventured farther from the shore,
    slowly, exploring different part of the cove. After 40minutes, the release
    crew left while the seal continued to explore the cove some 200 feet from

    * Tracking information available via WhaleNet
    * 17 OCT 2002 11:30AM ESTŠReleased at Granite Point Cove, Biddeford, York,
    Maine (43°24.431N, 70°23.171W). It appears that Wadadli spent muchof the
    first day in the cove near his release point.
    * 18 OCT 2002Š34 km NNE of Point Granite Point, York, Maine. The taghas
    cycled and managed to start and stop as it is supposed to. Wadadli appears
    to be moving towards the northeast and east. Given the few locations
    received from ARGOS, it may be that Wadadli is swimming quickly and not
    coming to the surface as often, thus the tag is not getting to signal as
    * 19 OCT 2002ŠSome 32 km E of Granite Point, York, Maine.
    * 20 OCT 2002ŠSome 62 km E of Granite Point, York, Maine.
    * 21 OCT 2002ŠSome 57 km E of Granite Point, York, Maine. We are still
    getting a lot of single signal messages (no locations). This seems to be
    common at the beginning of tracks, so we are hoping that we will get more
    locations as time goes on. So far we are getting several locations per day.
    They are still not very reliable ad scattered about, but it appears that
    Wadadli is still heading east slowly. His latest location is roughly 57 km
    east of his release point. This would seem to indicate that he is not
    heading in a straight line (as we would get a straight track and he could be
    moving about fifty miles per day). As we are not getting a lot of signals at
    the surface, it also seems that he is spending a lot of time below the
    surface (at least the tag is below the surface). Because of the way the tag
    is attached, this can also mean that he is spending a lot of time with his
    head up (looking around) rather than swimming. We think the latter is the
    most likely case. We will (hopefully) see more soon.
    * 22 OCT 2002ŠSome 58 km E of Granite Point, York, Maine.
    * 23 OCT 2002ŠSome 69 km ENE of Granite Point, York, Maine. Things appear to
    be pretty much the same with Wadadli still moving slowly east and maybe
    slightly north. His latest position has him about 69 km offshore, ENE of his
    release point. He still appears to be moving quite slowly and it appears
    that he is spending much of his time with the tag below water. This could
    mean he is spending a lot of time diving, or sitting around with his head up
    and out of the water. Although he is about 25 miles from the nearest
    coastline, he could still easily reach shore in less than a half a day if he
    headed in that direction, so we will keep a close eye on him.
    * 24 OCT 2002ŠSome 60 km ENE of Granite Point, York, Maine. It is difficult
    from this set of locations to be sure, but it appears that Wadadli is
    roughly in the same general location, perhaps moving north and west. If this
    is true, he is getting closer to shore. Unfortunately the accuracy of all of
    the locations today is questionable, so we will probably have to wait to see
    if this is really what is going on. In any event, it does not appear that
    Wadadli has made a move to leave the area.
    * 25 OCT 2002ŠSome 82 km E of Granite Point, York, Maine.
    * 26 OCT 2002ŠSome 86 km E of Granite Point, York, Maine.
    * 27 OCT 2002ŠSome 91 km ENE of Granite Point, York, Maine.
    * 28 OCT 2002ŠSome 105 km ENE of Granite Point, York, Maine. It looked for a
    while (24 Oct 2002) that he might have been heading in closer to shore. We
    now think that if he did (at all) it was only for a short time and we have
    no locations closer than about five miles offshore. His latest positions are
    still quite scattered. It is possible that these are so far apart because he
    is moving in a very erratic way. He may also be moving quite slowly and
    keeping his head up quite a bit. Either way he is proving a real challenge
    to find and follow. He appears to be continuing to move generally slowly
    northeast, and is approaching Mt Desert Island. He still is only moving east
    at about 5-10miles per day.
    * 29 OCT 2002ŠSome 161 km ENE of Granite Point, York, Maine.
    * 30 OCT 2002ŠSome 136 km E of Granite Point, York, Maine.
    * 31 OCT 2002ŠSome 104 km ENE of Granite Point, York, Maine.
    * 1 NOV 2002ŠSome 117 km E of Granite Point, York, Maine.
    * 2 NOV 2002ŠSome 208 km E of Granite Point, York, Maine.
    * 3 NOV 2002ŠSome 219 km E of Granite Point, York, Maine. It appears that
    after a week or so of either slow (or erratic) swimming fairly near the
    coast, Wadadli has made a noticeable move to the east and slightly north.
    This has been most noticeable in the last day or so. He continues to be
    difficult to track due to the poor confidence in the positions we are
    getting, but it seems clear that he is moving in a more direct line than
    before. His most recent position is probably about in the middle of the
    mouth of the Bay of Fundy, mid way between Maine and Nova Scotia. This would
    put him about 60 miles form the nearest land. He is also over the deepest
    water yet (about 250 m deep). It will be interesting to see if this trend
    continues and he continues east and around Nova Scotia or heads north into
    the Bay of Fundy.
    We will update this information next Monday or earlier if there is important
    information to share with the group.


    Dr. Antonio A. Mignucci-Giannoni
    Caribbean Marine Mammal Laboratory
    Department of Science and Technology, Universidad Metropolitana
    PO Box 361715 San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936-1715
    TEL 787-766-1717 x6600 € FAX 787-751-5840 € EMERG 787-399-8432
    EMAIL mignucci@caribe.net € WEB http://rcv.caribe.net

                          J. Michael Williamson
    Principal Investigator-WhaleNet <http://whale.wheelock.edu>
                       Associate Professor-Science
      Wheelock College, 200 The Riverway, Boston, MA 02215
                        voice: 617.879.2256
               fax:    617.734.8666, or 978.468.0073
              "Mother, Mother Ocean, I have heard your call,
                  Wanted to sail upon your waters, 
                   since I was three feet tall"
                            Jimmy Buffett

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