WhaleNet,


New England Aquarium,

and
THE MARINE ANIMAL LIFELINE
in Maine

"Albert"
Hooded Seal

Satellite Tag#24853


Stranding History

Release

WHEN:
Tuesday, April 6th, 2:30 p.m.

WHERE:
Curtis Cove at Granite Point in Biddeford.

Release Location

WHY:
Seal #77, "Albert", a juvenile male hooded seal, was found in January of 1999 on Biddeford Pool Beach suffering from a parasitic infection and sand impacted stomach. He weighed 68 pounds when he was found and now tops the scale at 150 pounds. "Albert" will be fitted with the satellite-tracking device.

REPORTS

7/12/99 - Albert continues to send locations. He is still long overdue to molt the transmitter, so who knows how long this might go on. Recent positions show him a bit to the north and west off the coast of northern Labrador. We get no dive data from this tag, but I became a bit suspicious over the weekend when we received several location fixes based on many satellite"hits" (as many as 13!). This would mean Albert would have to be at the surface for nearly the entire pass of the satellite (not the kind of behavior one generally sees). Checking the location of ice in that region it looks likely that "Albert " has found himself some ice to haul out on. This would also explain why he is not moving as quickly as he was a week ago.

(you can check on the ice conditions at http://www.cis.ec.gc.ca/home.html)

7/7/99 Strange things....Albert, the hooded seal is sending locations. After several weeks of only occasional messages and a location every week, we are now getting regular locations from his tag. This may not be as strange as it seems, as he is now far enough north that the satellites are passing over him more frequently and more likely to pick up signals (remember the satellites orbit over the poles, so the farther north the tag goes the better the coverage gets). It is odd that the tag is still attached, as we expected Albert to molt by now, but I am not complaining at this point.

Albert is continuing to move north roughly one hundred miles off of the coast of Labrador (in the Davis Strait).

5/26/99 Yes it has been a while, but I have a few bits of information about "Albert". Below are the location hits so far. We are getting about one location per week. We get a message every day or so, but most of them are "single hits" so there is no location data. So far Albert appears to have moved across the Gulf of maine, up into the Bay of Fundy, and then around Nova Scotia. This sounds like a lot of moving, but if all of his locations are correct he is moving around 25 miles per day or so. This is far slower than most of the other hooded seals we have tracked so far. Our latest location is east and north of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

4/23/99 So far I am getting the occasional message, but no location from the tag. I suspect that the tag is not getting off enough signals off or the duty cycle sets the tag to send signals when the satellite coverage is poor. Oh well.

4/13/99 Well I am afraid I have nothing much to report. Since his release last week we have only gotten one location on Albert. That one from just after release. We have been getting the occasional signal from the tag, so it appears that the problem is either not enough signals being sent (this can be due to the tag not sensing that it is "dry" at the surface to send a signal, or the position of the seal such that the tag is not clearing the water high enough) or not enough signals are getting to the satellite (thin might be due to the fact that the tag is only "on" eight hours out of the day and may be signaling when there is rotten satellite coverage, or a problem with the tag getting a "clean" signal off...i.e. rough sea state blocking transmissions. My thought right now is the former, but we will have to see what happens from here. We have been getting single signal messages, so at least we know the tag is out there somewhere, and it is unlikely that he has hauled out (otherwise we would probably get a bunch of signals). So, stay tuned, we can only wait right now.

Keep your fingers crossed,

ge

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