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Satellite Telemetry and Post-release Monitoring of a Rehabilitated, Stranded Hooded Seal (Cystophora cristata)

Greg Early, New England Aquarium, Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110 USA

Stranded marine mammals provide unique opportunities as platforms for satellite tracking and telemetry studies. The New England Aquarium has tracked both stranded cetaceans and pinnipeds to monitor rehabilitated animals after release. In the present study, an adult hooded seal was fitted with a 0.5-Watt, satellite-linked TDR (Wildlife Computers, Redmond, WA). The animal was tagged prior to release after six months treatment following stranding nearly 2,000 mi south of its normal range. Following release, the tag verified the survival of the seal and provided detailed tracking of the seal to its home range. Continued monitoring has provided information on behavior and movements within this animal's normal range, information previously unavailable to scientists. This seal was tagged and released outside of its normal range, and at a time of year when this species is not otherwise accessible for tagging. The information this project provided illustrates the usefulness of this type of study. Tracking is ongoing at this time.

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