Environmental Projects: Kotzebue Sound 2004-2006 Young Bearded Seal Satellite Tagging Project:

Fall 2004

Project Activities

The team assembled in Kotzebue the last week of September for the first attempt at seal capture.The first two days in the field were spent at Ivik, setting nets and searching the area of northeast Kobuk Lake for signs of bearded seals.A few seals were observed, but none were caught.Next the island area off of Kotzebue was tried, where two spotted seals were captured alive and healthy in the nets.Both were released unharmed.A net set off the beach at Sisualiq captured a two-year old female bearded seal, but an unfortunate combination of weather and tide allowed ice that had formed behind the peninsula to move out and cover the net, killing the seal.The research assistant salvaged the seal for meat.This ended the attempts to net in the area surrounding Sisualiq (see capture area map).

At Ivik, a ringed seal, three spotted seals and a female juvenile bearded seal were all captured alive and healthy during this time. On October 5th the bearded seal was transported to town and fitted with satellite tag - Number 53604.She was released on the same day a couple of miles west of town and traveled straight out into the Sound, eventually ending up off of Point Hope, where she stayed until October 31st when she traveled to Sealing Point staying until November 5th when she traveled back to the area off of Point Hope (see location map).

Seal Seal
Seal Seal

 

A second female juvenile seal was captured near Ivik on October 10th.On October 12th she was transported to town, fitted with satellite tag - Number 53605 and released from the beach in front of town. She traveled WSW and ended up in Eschscholtz Bay where she stayed feeding until November 2nd when she traveled to Cape Espenberg (see location map).

Seal Seal
Seal

Both seals were well behaved during the capture, transport and tagging process and were released in good shape. They both appear to being doing well and their movements will continue to be monitored as long as the satellites continue to send information, which in the best-case scenario will include most of the winter and spring of 2005. Maps will be updated and posted on this website on a weekly basis.

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