WhaleNet Reports


Hooded Seal

Satellite Tagging
Observation Data

"Wadadli" Satellite Map

Hooded Seal

In Water in Kelp Sat Tag Sat Tag

10/19/02 - So far, the good news is that the tag has cycled and managed to start and stop as it is supposed to. We have gotten about thirty two messages until this morning (the last at about 5AM this morning). Roughly half of those were single "hits" so no location on them. This is a bit less coverage than we would like, but it seems to be the case that initially we do not get very many locations. I think it may be that "Waddy" is swimming quickly and not coming to the surface as often, so the tag is not getting very many signals off. As a rule things get better over time. As for his location. It appears that he spent much of the first day in the cove near his release point. It looks like he has moved offshore and is now about twenty to twenty five miles east of his release point. These points may not be very accurate (it seems like it takes some time for ARGOS to figure out where this new signal is coming from), so I can't tell as yet whether he is heading north or south. But east and offshore is a good start.

10/21/02 - Locations as of Monday morning. We are still getting a lot of single signal messages (no locations). This seems to be common at the beginning of tracks, so I am hoping that we will get more location 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 forty miles 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. I think the latter is the most likely case. We will (hopefully) see more soon.

10/23/02 - Things appear to be pretty much the same with Wadadli still moving slowly east ans maybe slightly north. His latest position has him about 40 miles offshore, east 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 twenty five miles from the nearest coast line, 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.

10/25/02 - 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 cloaser to shore. Unfortunately the accuracy of all of the locations today are questionable, so we will probably have to wait until tomorrow to see if this is really what is going on. In any event, it does not appear that Wadadlie has made a move to leave the area.

10/28/02 - Here is the latest from Wadadli. It looked for a while (on Friday) that he might have been heading in closer to shore. I now am thinking 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. Anyway, he appears to be continuing to move generally slowly eastward, and is approaching Mt Desert Island. He still is only moving east at about five to ten miles per day. (ps attached is a rough map of the latest)

11/4/02 - Here is the latest from Wadadli. This should get us caught up. 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 sixty miles form the nearest land. He is also over the deepest water yet (about two hundred and fifty meters 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).

11/11/02 - After another week, "Wadadli" appears to still be somewhere around the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. Two locations from early today may indicate that he is still moving north into the bay. This would be a change, as he has spent most of the past week in the center of the deepest water in the bay (and some of the deepest in the Guf of Maine). He still is moving slowly and is still quite difficult to track (as most of the locations we are getting are from only two satellite fixes). Hopefully we will see if he continues up into the bay (not a good thing), moves around Nova Scotia (a better idea), or stays in the bay.

11/16/02 - Here are the latest locations from Wadadli. This week has been probably the most difficult part of the track so far. While we are getting plenty of signals every day, we are still not getting very many locations. This is because the satellite is only picking up a single signal on most passes. This could mean that Wadadli is still moving below the surface a lot. Or it may mean that his posture in the water is such that the tag is not getting free of the water all that often. I will be checking some of the status messages and may be able to get some clues, but what this means is that we have only a few locations to look at this week (and none for a couple of days). It seems like the gaps in the track came on the same days as a storm was moving through the Gulf of Maine, so that may have had some effect as well.

From the locations we have it appears that he is continuing up into the Bay of Fundy and is now about 50-60 miles deeper into the bay. I have had other hooded seals do this while we were tracking them (see the track of "Bubba") so it may not be cause for concern. Hopefully we will see.

11/25/02 - It appears that he has made a back-track and headed out of the Bay of Fundy. He is now close to the same position he was in about two weeks ago. Now will he head north to Canada or stay in the Gulf of Maine???

12/1/02 - It appears that Wadadli has ctinued to head south again and is now roughly in the center of the Gulf of Maine. This is about 80 miles east of Rockland Maine. This is still over some of the deepest water in the Gulf, which would be OK for him, as it is close to the depths he would be over if he was offshore. As we are nearing the time that hoods start to show up on shore in Maine and Massachusetts, it will be interesting to see if he heads north or stays in the Gulf.

12/8/02 - Attached are the latest locations and a map. It appears that Wadadli has headed south to just about the same latitude as his release and is now roughly 60 miles slightly south and east of his release point. This puts him in some of the deeper water of the Gulf of Maine. This is also similar to another hooded seal tracked by WhaleNet a few years ago (Bubba). The map shows Wadadli's track and the points of "Bubba's" locations. Although they are in the same general area Wadadli is staying over an area that Bubba avoided while he was in the Gulf. During that track he spent over two months in this area before he headed up and out of the Gulf towards Newfoundland.

12/15/02 - Pretty much the same location and behavior as last week.

12/24/02 - A bit of excitement. Over the last week it appears that Wadadli has headed briefly north up the coast of Maine (about to Jonesport), then headed south. His most recent position puts him just a few miles off of the coast near York Maine. It also appears that he may have come ashore briefly in northern Maine. I will be watching him closely for the next few days to see if he hits the coast (likely southern Maine to Cape Ann, Massachusetts)

12/30/02 - Well, the fun never seems to stop. After a close pass at the coast in southern Maine around Xmas, "Wadadli" headed back north aong the coast. His most recent positions put him close to shore just off of the coast of New Brunswick, again headed back into the Bay of Fundy. I do not think he has been on shore (as of this not anyway) as the tag would send a large number of messages when out of the water. So my guess is, that he is still in the water, but quite close to the coast.

1/9/03 - After spending a couple of days moving into the upper reaches of the Bay of Fundy, "Wadadli" appears to again be moving south out of the Bay. He appears to have moved as far as Chignecto Bay (near the mouth of the Petitcodiac River). It is hard to imagine what swimming in this area would be like as this is an area of some of the worlds greatest tides and tide changes. There are rapids, standing falls, whirlpools and anything from 50 to no feet of water in the same spot at different times. For more information about this area check out:


This time he is leaving closer to the Nova Scotia coast. It is a little hard to predict what will happen next, but maybe this time he will head around the tip of Nova Scotia and north (where he really should be). Hopefully we will see.

What Next?????

2/10/03 - It appears that after a couple of weeks staying near Cash's ledge (a rich fishing area roughly fifty miles off the coast of southern Maine) Wadadli has once again headed north. Well at least the direction north he seems to prefer. Once again he has headed north along the coast (several miles off most likely) and is now at the very end of the Bay of Fundy. This is beginning to look like a repeat of his last trip north (about a month ago). The attached map shows his latest positions.

2/14/03 - Well maybe this time....

It looks like "Wadadli" is once again moving south out of the bay of Fundy.This time he is moving out close to the west coast of Nova Scotia.His latest position is thirty miles or so south and slightly east of the south coast.This is the farthest east he has been and the closest to getting out of the gulf of Maine since his release. Hopefully we will see if he takes a sharp left and heads around Nova Scotia, or continues to head south.No predictions here ...

One interesting point.Although I have not calculated his speed (one can do this by measuring the distance between points and checking the time of the locations), but if yu look at the past few days of tracking, you can see that his track is much straighter and the gaps in the track (when the tag shuts down each day) are getting longer.This probably means that he is moving more directly and faster than the wandering he has been doing in the past.Good news ??? I am not sure I guess it will make a difference what direction he speeds off to.

2/25/03 - Well ... as of the last data "Wadadli" was headed back into the Gulf of Maine form the Bay of Fundy. This time it appeared that he might be heading east and make it out of the Gulf of Maine. No such luck. he simply headed back south to the southern end of the Gulf. He has spent the past few days near a shallow area of the Gulf known as Jeffery's Ledge, a well known fishing area. He may well be searching for fish as well in this spot. Oddly enough he is only about 10 miles from the same location as our tagged gray seal "Louise". It seems all of our seals in Maine want to be in roughly the same area.

2/27/03 - Well this is a strange little scene...

Attached is a map of locations for both Wadadli and Louise for the past week or so.It appears that they both have moved onto Jeffery's ledge and are rotating around between the northern and southern edges.I am not sure what the chances are of two tagged seals just bumping into each other in the Gulf of Maine, but we are getting close.It appears that Louise and Wadadli may have been as close as several miles from each other at one point.Louise appears to be very much keeping on the shallower part of the bank, while Wadadli has been keeping mostly in deeper water several miles from the northern edge of the bank.As location data from yesterday, they had switched locations,with Wadadli moving to the south end of the bank and Louise heading up to the north.

The assumption here is that both of these seals are there looking for food.In this case it would also seem to indicate that someone (probably Wadadli) is not eating their usual prey.This is one of those times you really wish you had some TDR data ... but I will see if I can check the temperature data for the two tags to see if there is some similarity (that might give us a clue if they are staying around water that is the same temperature)

curiouser and curiouser

3/7/03 - The most recent from Wadadli.It looks like Jeffery's ledge is the place.Wadadli has spent most of the last week off of the southern part of this ledge.It looks like he may have spent a day or so circling the ledge and getting close to shore just north of Glocester MA.This is interesting as this area (from north of Cape Ann to New Hampshire) is an area where hooded seals commonly strand in the winter.Perhaps Wadadli is showing us where stray hoods hang around.

3/16/03 - Latest from "Wadadli". Although he has spent a good deal of time on the southern part of Jeffery's ledge it appears that for the past few days he has been wandering around near the coast of Cape Cod and the Massachusetts North Shore. I've attached a map,but you can see that he probably got within a mile or so of shore at the bottom of Cape Cod Bay. His latest position, however is just south of the area he was staying near on Jeffery's. Hopefully he will begin to head north fairly soon as mid March to Mid April is the time hoods generally haul out on breeding ice at the mouth of the Gulf of St. Lawrence or east of Newfoundland.

3/21/-3 - Gentlemen we may have a problem.

Attached are a couple of maps of the last few days of signals from Wadadli. It appears that he has headed to the coast in mid-coast Maine near Port Clyde. The problem is that he stopped sending signals about six hours before his tag was due to start a duty cycle on Wednesday. No signals yesterday and none so far today. From the previous data it appears that he headed in to shor and may have hauled out. This may have shut his tag down if he stayed out of the water. It may also mean that his tag was damaged somehow when he got to shore, or he scraped the thing off on a rock someplace. In any event time will tell if we get any more signals.

I have sent these maps and the data to the folks at MAL as they have a number of volunteers in the area and I have asked them to see if they can check the coast in the areas of his last transmissions. Given how sparse the population is up there he could be ashore without anyone reporting it.

Hopefully he is just sleeping on a warm rock and we will wake him up and get him to go back to work.

3/22/02 - As of Sat.ááafternoon still no signals from Wadadli's tag.ááThis is the last time I will easily be able to check for a week, but it has been long enough without signals that I do not think this is a simple case of him hauled out.ááThis would leave the chance that the tag is damaged, or off, or something has happened to him.

3/24/03 - Most of you I'm sure have already heard.╩╩We found Wadadli in Port Clyde this morning, dead, on a float roughly 200 yards offshore.╩╩A team from Marine Animal Lifeline is on the way up, but at this point the best we can tell for a location is in the attached maps (1, 2).

It is very sad that I must informed you that Wadadli was found dead this morning by the staff of Marine Animal Lifeline in Maine. We had lost satellite signals since last Wednesday near Port Clyde in mid-coastal Maine, and gave it a couple of days to double check if the tag was broken or if we were able to receive additional signals. By Saturday, Greg Early had not received any more locations and had alerted the staff of MAL to keep their eyes open for Wadadli in trouble. MAL volunteers checked the vicinities on Saturday and Sunday without any luck. However, on Monday morning (today) they sighted WadadliŇs carcass on a wooden float (used by fishermen to anchor and work their traps) 200 yards offshore in a cove at Port Clyde (43 56.020'N 69 15.771'W).

The carcass was recovered today and is at present at MAL, for transfer to the University of New England for necropsy. Keith Matassa and a veterinarian will conduct the necropsy and collect tissue samples for cause of death analysis. We will report to you further details as they become available.

Wadadli was rescued in the island of Antigua in the Caribbean in August 2001, cared for at Universidad Metropolitana in San Juan, Puerto Rico for 6 months, transferred to the University of New England for re-introduction training in March 2002, and released 5 months ago (October 2002) south of Portland. He was fitted with a satellite radio-transmitter to track his movements. He spent his time mostly offshore traveling between Cashe's Ledge and Jeffrey's Ledge (both in the Gulf of Maine) and the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

A complete report on WadadliŇs release and tracking will follow after receiving necropsy results.

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

More seal data is available in the current WhaleNet Listserv. Sort and go to Seal Dive Data entries.

Map of "Wadadli's" travels.

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