Monday, October 23, 2006

ok, so I'm very excited that we are now working in the seal colony. These creatures are amazing, and as they have no natural predators on land, you are able to walk around them with very little notice on their part, at least until you find the rare angry seal. These guys can weigh up to 1100 pounds no problem, in fact today, the first seal we weighed, tipped the scales at 550 kg, or 1220 pounds. We were forced to wrestle this angry mother into a "pole-net" and then tie her down, all the while she was fighting and biting back at us. Really amazing, we'll see how she reacts next time we run into her! The pup, who is only a few days old, was so baffled by the whole situation it just crawled around in circles, trying to figure out where its source of food had gone. Luckily for us the weather was nice, so we weren't cold, and the pup had no problem keeping warm, even without his mom. In fact, as we sat on the snow catching our breath, the pup would crawl up to us, thinking maybe we'd give him food, before realizing we were in fact the "enemy." He would then slip off, and return every few minutes, hoping to find some food. Anyway, it was quite a learning curve, and as we get better I will be able to take pictures of the how we actually do the procedures, for now it will have to suffice just to have some cute pictures of moms and pups. Each day we perform a census on the colony, and this is where these pictures are from. We walk through, checking id tags on each animal, recording its location via GPS, and noting anything interesting about the animal, ie: bloody, pregnant etc. We have found several dead pups, a natural occurrence, something like 17% die before weaning, so I'm sure we'll find several more. So without further delay, here are some pictures of the seals....
Below: is an icy male, the snow's been blowing today
A protective mom and her pup
A pup without a care in the world
A male peering up at us from the water below, these seals keep holes in the ice open with their teeth, allowing them to access the fast ice, far from the open water
at the bottom of the world, everything is upside down
Erebus at midnight, the sun is no longer setting here, so this is as dark as it gets
another sunset with a beautiful sky

1 comment:

Bama said...

Thanks for the pics, Dan!! It all looks exciting, yet very cold!

I've been reading for awhile. Charley sent your blog address out and I'm glad he did. Keep us posted!