Last week, a camera set up on Seal Island, a remote island 20 miles off the midcoast of Maine, began streaming live footage of seal-pupping activities.
As you can see from the footage, conditions on the island are harsh, making it difficult for researchers to monitor seal-pupping grounds. This camera is allowing scientists to gather important information that they would otherwise be unable to obtain.
Stephanie Wood, a biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) explains that they will be able to determine when peak pupping occurs and how long it takes the new pups to molt. In addition, it allows the public to watch “nature in action.”
The project is funded by explore.org, an organization designed to help connect people to nature.
“With the new seal pupping cam, we are helping people escape the urban squalor and, if only for a moment, reconnect with nature in its purest state,” Charlie Annenberg, founder of explore.org, said in a statement.
Last spring, researchers installed two cameras on the island, which is owned by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and managed with the National Audubon Society. The cameras were initially set up to record the behavior of Atlantic puffins, but now Audubon is letting NOAA keep one camera to record the more than 500 gray seals (Halichoerus grypus) that live there from December to February.
Seal Island is home to one of the largest breeding colonies of gray seals in the U.S., second only to Muskeget Island off southern Massachusetts.
To learn more:
- See live feed from explore.org: gray seal pupping cam
- Read the full article: Camera Begins Streaming Seal Pups Live From Remote Maine Island
- Check out this article: Human, Seal Conflict in New England
- And this one: Twins: A First for Gray Seals?
Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.