Project Methods and Field Activities June–July 2012
A team from the Native Village of Kotzebue (NVK) and the NOAA National Marine Mammal Laboratory (NMML) worked from June 24 – July 6, 2012 to tag ugruks (bearded seals) in Kotzebue Sound. The only ugruk captured and tagged was caught on July 3 and was the seventh ugruk tagged in the 4-year project. At 469 lbs and 6.5 ft long, she weighs in as the second largest ugruk (and the largest female) captured in the project.
Shortly after being released, the female ugruk left Kotzebue Sound and headed north close to the coastline. She continued north and east along the coast to the Camden Bay area near Kaktovik, AK . This is in stark contrast to the two sub-adult females tagged in 2011 which, upon reaching Point Hope, left the coast for the central Chukchi Sea . It is also farther east than the area used by the adult male tagged in 2009, near Prudhoe Bay . She then spent about 3 weeks in Camden Bay before turning around and heading all the way back south, with a bit of a delay for a while NE of Barrow. As of early November, 2012, she was west of Kotzebue Sound, headed south toward Bering Strait.