The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research & Preservation
October 2, 2000
|ID# : NY 2451-2000|
|Name : Plover|
|Species: Hooded seal (Cystophora cristata)|
|Stranding Date: July 22, 2000|
|Stranding Loc. West End Field 2 Jones Beach State Park|
|Hempstead, New York|
|Body of Water: Atlantic Ocean|
|Latitude: 40.34.54 N|
|Longitude: 73. 33. 48 W|
|Stranding Weight: 18.18 kg (40 lbs)|
|Stranding Length: 102.0 cm (3.3 ft)|
|Release Date: October 2, 2000|
|Release Loc.: Road K/Dune Rd. Hampton Bays, New York|
|Body of Water: Atlantic Ocean|
|Latitude: 40.49.52 N|
|Longitude: 72. 30. 37 W|
|Tag Number: 0419|
|Tag Type: Yellow Plastic|
|Tag Placement: Left hindflipper between 1st and 2nd digit|
Seal "Plover", "Plover" will be fitted with the satellite-tracking device.
10/10/00 - After a long weekend, more data from "Plover". The good news is that we are getting fairly regular location hits. It appears that "Plover" is making his way at a fairly steady rate (we can get some idea of this from the distance between locations when the tag is turned on and when it is turned off as well as the locations themselves). These locations show that he is still heading somewhat south, but has headed farther offshore. His latest locations put him roughly sixty miles east of the mouth of Delaware Bay. While this is not the direction we would expect him to go (hooded seals home range is in the Arctic to the north), he is presently over water that a depth that other hooded seals appear to prefer. We will have to see if he begins to head north following this depth, or not....
10/17/00 - Below are the most recent set of data points for "Plover". Unfortunately we have not received any new signals from the tag. When we stop getting signals from a tag it can generally mean one of three things. The tag has run out of power or malfunctions, the tag becomes detached from the seal, or something has happened to the seal. Although we can not be sure, it is a pretty safe bet that , unless we have some evidence to show us wrong, that it is only one of these three things and not some combination. Occasionally, bad weather, or a seal's location may block transmissions for a day or two, however it does not look like this is the case here. We have had tags "go missing" for up to a week, and then appear again, however, the longer the time that we do not hear, the greater the likelihood that we will not get anymore signals.
So far the only thing that we know for certain is that "Plover" was not headed towards proper hooded seal home range. For this reason I think that it is most likely that something happened to "Plover" rather than loss or malfunction of the tag (the tag power should have been enough to transmit for many more days so it is quite unlikely that the batteries ran out). I will be checking what information I have over the next few days to see if I can find any other clues to what might have happened. If this is the last we hear for "Plover" it is indeed unfortunate, and certainly not the result we expect when a seal is released. We have, however learned something about where he went and what he did following his release, and this information will hopefully help us to understand how to give the next released seals a better chance.
I will let you know if I hear anything more from "Plover".