Fish and aquatic news » Seals http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news The latest news from below the surface Wed, 23 Oct 2013 11:30:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6.1 Ringed And Bearded Seals Proposed to be Listed Under Endangered Species Act, Proposed by NOAA http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/1354 http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/1354#comments Sat, 11 Dec 2010 17:14:07 +0000 Anja http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/?p=1354 NOAA's Fisheries Service has proposed that four subspecies of ringed seals – which generally are found in the Arctic Basin and the North Atlantic – and two distinct populations of bearded seals – who make their home in the Pacific Ocean – be placed on the threatened list under the Endangered Species Act.

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NOAA’s Fisheries Service has proposed that four subspecies of ringed seals – which generally are found in the Arctic Basin and the North Atlantic – and two distinct populations of bearded seals – who make their home in the Pacific Ocean – be placed on the threatened list under the Endangered Species Act.

The reasoning behind putting these animals on the threatened list is due to disappearing sea ice, and diminishing snow cover. The models used to predict the amount of sea ice and snow in the future were from NOAA.

It’s not such a strange request. You see, one of the subspecies of ringed seals is already on the ESA endangered list. Under the new rules proposed by the Federal Register, the other four subspecies of the ringed seals would also be listed as being threatened.

The pups of the ringed seals are generally born in snow caves in the early spring, and are susceptible to low temperatures and being eaten by predators if they don’t have the snow caves for shelter. The changing climate can reduce the amount of snow cover, and rising temperatures can change when the ice breaks up every spring. However, the biggest reason that the ringed seals are being put on the list is that they only give birth to one pup every year, and this can make it hard for them to bounce back from harsh challenges imposed by the rapidly changing climate.

Much for the same reasons, the bearded seal has also been proposed to fall into the same category.

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Dog Needs Rescuing After Chasing Sea Lion? http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/1308 http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/1308#comments Sun, 21 Nov 2010 00:20:58 +0000 Anja http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/?p=1308 Some dogs chase cars, some chase bikes, others chase... sea lions? Yes, it appears that some dogs don't limit the things they chase to just things on land apparently.

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sealion Dog Needs Rescuing After Chasing Sea Lion?

Sealion

Some dogs chase cars, some chase bikes, others chase… sea lions? Yes, it appears that some dogs don’t limit the things they chase to just things on land apparently.

It seems a dog needed to be rescued after chasing a sea lion for over four kilometers out to sea in Southern Australia.

The dog, a crossbreed named Westie, was out taking a walk with his master along the beach when he suddenly took off into the water after a sea lion and simply refused to come back, the Portside Messenger reported.

Soon the sea lion and Westie were out of sight, somewhere over the horizon as the sea lion led Westie farther and farther from the shore, leaving his owner feeling helpless.

Craig Van Tenac, a Semaphore Surf Life Saving Club captain, was part of the efforts to rescue Westie.

“I’d say it was four kilometers offshore – that dog swam forever,” he commented when asked about what happened.

Westie apparently was having a good time, frolicking around and rubbing his nose against the sea lion, who was busy rolling about playfully in the water, he continued.

Despite Westie’s amazing stamina, Van Tenac commented that he had his doubts that Westie, who had been chasing after the sea lion for more than an hour, could have possibly made it back to shore.

He continued to say that Westie’s owner was very much relieved that he came back to the shore safe and sound, and no worse for wear.

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Sea Lions Take Researchers By Surprise: Adopt Orphaned Pups! http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/1282 http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/1282#comments Tue, 16 Nov 2010 14:19:05 +0000 Anja http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/?p=1282 It seems that sea lions have once again pulled the wool over the eyes of researchers. We all know it's a rough world, and no less is true of those poor orphaned sea lion pups. However, decades of painstaking research has proven that the sea lion females shun any sea lion pups which aren't there own.. Or do they?

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sealion Sea Lions Take Researchers By Surprise: Adopt Orphaned Pups!

Sealion

It seems that sea lions have once again pulled the wool over the eyes of researchers. We all know it’s a rough world, and no less is true of those poor orphaned sea lion pups. However, decades of painstaking research has proven that the sea lion females shun any sea lion pups which aren’t there own.. Or do they?

A new bit of genetic research of the populations of Californian sea lions, published this past Monday in the online journal PloS ONE, now sheds some new light on the subject, and states that sea lions are not as cold as they are made out to be.

Up to seventeen percent of the females in the California sea lions populations off of Mexico’s coast will actually take on an orphaned pup as one of their own offspring, according to the new research. What is even more amazing, is that the researchers were able to watch the females care for these pups year after year.
“Females are incredibly aggressive toward pups that aren’t theirs. They’ll bare teeth and bark, sometimes grab and toss pups that aren’t their own away,” explains a marine biologist at Arizona State University who made the discovery through an unrelated research effort, Ramona Flatz. “That they adopt at all really surprised us. We didn’t think it happened.”

So, while the chances are not that high that an orphaned pup can find an adoptive mother, the chance still exists, so like people, there are some decent sea lions out there…

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Task Force Recommending the Slaughter of A Greater Number of Sea Lions at the Bonneville Dam to Help Preserve Endangered Species http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/1275 http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/1275#comments Sun, 14 Nov 2010 02:10:24 +0000 Anja http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/?p=1275 It appears that Washington and Oregon should slaughter more California sea lions over at the Bonnerville Dam this coming new year to help put the states' controversial “lethal take” program – which is three years old – to the test, and see if it can meet its main goal of dropping the number of salmon feasted upon by sea lions, a joint task force decided this past Wednesday.

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sealion Task Force Recommending the Slaughter of A Greater Number of Sea Lions at the Bonneville Dam to Help Preserve Endangered Species

Sealion

It appears that Washington and Oregon should slaughter more California sea lions over at the Bonnerville Dam this coming new year to help put the states’ controversial “lethal take” program – which is three years old – to the test, and see if it can meet its main goal of dropping the number of salmon feasted upon by sea lions, a joint task force decided this past Wednesday.

The task force apparently believes that the proper way to handle the sea lions is to shoot them from land, or from boat, rather than trapping them and then subjecting them to a lethal injection. Fifteen of the sixteen members of the Pinniped Fishery Interaction Task Force agree on this course of action.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is helping to keeps tabs on the lethal- take program, should make the actual identifying of the sea lions which need to be taken care of, much much easier, the task force added.

The two states have a combined score of 40 slaughtered sea lions since they began the dark project back in 2008, which includes four which seem to have perished accidentally in the traps that year. However, the actual number of salmon the seal lions are consuming is growing, from a reported 3,846 in the spring of 2007, to a whopping 5,095 in the Spring of 2010, as reported by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

So their plan of “Kill one to save another” doesn’t seem to be working to well, however, the plan seems to be keep trying until they get it right…

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Albino Seal Discovered, Interned at Hospital in Netherlands http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/1228 http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/1228#comments Wed, 20 Oct 2010 19:04:25 +0000 Anja http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/?p=1228 An almost impossible to find albino seal has just been given admittance to the Seal Rehabilitation and Research Center Lenie' t Hart (SRRC) in Holland following coming down with a rather nasty infection in its lungs.

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Albino Seal Albino Seal Discovered, Interned at Hospital in Netherlands

Albino Seal

Now here’s something you don’t hear about everyday. An almost impossible to find albino seal has just been given admittance to the Seal Rehabilitation and Research Center Lenie’ t Hart (SRRC) in Holland following coming down with a rather nasty infection in its lungs. The SRRC is a veterinary hospital in the Netherlands, which takes in, treats, and then releases seals back into the wild after having befallen some illness or injury. In some cases they also euthanize the poor animals if they cannot be helped any other way.

The SRRC has reportedly taken in and helped 6 albino seals over the past four decades, and does everything in their power to save them.
The last albino seal to make an appearance on the scene at the SRRC was a decade ago. Which makes this little guy all the more important.

The SRRC is not only a seal treatment center, but it also acts as an educational venue for tourists from all around the globe. Seals are not specifically bred or trained for human entertainment at the center, helping them out costs money after all, and the tourist dollars go to a good cause. The seals are let go once they are fit enough to make it on their own. There are roughly 200 animals which make their way to the center on a yearly basis.

This particular albino seal will be put into quarantine and then treated at the center for the next little while. After it is well enough, it will be taken back to the North Sea, where it belongs.

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Closure of Aleutian Fisheries http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/888 http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/888#comments Sat, 07 Aug 2010 03:19:56 +0000 Anja http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/?p=888 The poor endangered Steller's sea lions are surviving so poorly, and their populations decreasing alarmingly, at the point of Alaska's Aleutian Islands that the Obama administration is stepping up, and calling for the immediate cease and desist order for the commercial fishing of two very prominent species of fish; the Atka mackerel and the Pacific cod.

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Stellers Sea Lion Closure of Aleutian Fisheries

Steller's sea lions

The poor endangered Steller’s sea lions are surviving so poorly, and their populations decreasing alarmingly, at the point of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands that the Obama administration is stepping up, and calling for the immediate cease and desist order for the commercial fishing of two very prominent species of fish; the Atka mackerel and the Pacific cod.

This shutdown being proposed by the Obama administration would only hit a small, yet vital portion of Alaska’s largely Seattle-based fishing industry.

However, it is also the latest proof that the sea lions have become a proxy in a heated battle over fishing in Alaska. Both environmentalists and big Industry are keeping their eye on what’s happening to the $1 billion a year pollock industry in the Bering Sea nearby. The fishery there supplies half of the country’s catch of fish.

On Monday the fishing industry expressed their concerns at the rapid and sever proposal put out by the Obama administration. It should be noted however, that this proposal was made in response to a 45 percent drop in the western Aleutians’ sea lion population since 2000. That’s quite a dip in only 10 short years.

The National Marine Fisheries Service wants to have everything closed down and other preventative measures in place by next year.

“What they’ve put on the table today is a head shot for us,” exclaimed counsel for United States Seafood in South Seattle, Dave Wood.

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When opposites won’t attract; same-colour medakas preferentially selective for each other http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/441 http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/441#comments Tue, 06 Oct 2009 03:55:31 +0000 William http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/?p=441 An international team of researchers have shown how one single gene mutation is capable of making the medaka, a Japanese killifish, loose its attractive colours and display a drab grey colour which renders them significantly less attractive to medakas of the opposite sex – unless that potential mate is grey too.

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An international team of researchers have shown how one single gene mutation is capable of making the medaka, a Japanese killifish, loose its attractive colours and display a drab grey colour which renders them significantly less attractive to medakas of the opposite sex – unless that potential mate is grey too.

In the wild, medakas come in a wide range of colours, including orange, brown and drab grey.

We observed that the grey medaka were often rejected in favor of their brown or orange rivals“, says lead author Shoji Fukamachi. “This is the first demonstration of a single gene that can change both secondary sexual characteristics and mating preferences“.

As mentioned above, you don’t have to fear ending up without a mate just because you happen to be a grey medaka – you just have to go out looking for another grey specimen since the study showed greys to be preferentially selective for each other. This preference for choosing a member of your own colour suggests that sympatric speciation could occur in medakas as the colour determining gene is mutated, i.e. new species may form as the medakas choose to mate with specimens of their own colour.

The research is a collaborative effort by researchers from the University of Konstanz, Germany and from the University of Tokyo, Japan. The study has been published in the open access journal BMC Biology.

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Sea monsters and the environment http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/411 http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/411#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2009 00:25:58 +0000 William http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/?p=411 Florida seems to have gotten its very own alleged sea monster. It lives in the waters off Singer Island in the Lake Worth Lagoon, not far from the Riviera Beach Florida Power & Light plant.

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Internet problems keep interfering with the publishing of new posts. Working to fix it.

Florida seems to have gotten its very own alleged sea monster. It lives in the waters off Singer Island in the Lake Worth Lagoon, not far from the Riviera Beach Florida Power & Light plant.

An episode of the TV-show MonsterQuest was dedicated to the Floridian sea monster in April, after a video shot by Palm Beach Gardens resident Gene Sowerwine reached the TV-team. In the video, you can see a trident-shaped tail slapping the water and, in another image, an elongated snout breaking the surface.

As per usual, MonsterQuest didn’t succeed in identifying the animal. According to Florida Atlantic University professor Ed Petuch, the Singer Island sea monster could be a wayward arctic seal, e.g. a Hooded or Bearded seal. In 2006, two Hooded seals were found in this southerly part of the USA; one in Martin Country and the other 2 miles north of The Breakers hotel in Palm Beach. The year after that, a Bearded seal was caught in Fort Lauderdale.

If the Singer Island creature is an arctic seal, this is actually more frightening than any sea monster since it might be a sign of how far over fishing and/or global warming has forced these cold water species.

Nature is never constant, by law,” Petuch said. “The ice is melting, the surface waters are becoming more fresh water, and it’s driving them out of their normal ranges.”

Martine DeWit, associate research scientist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, is leaning towards a less startling but equally sad explanation.

We know manatees can look like that when they get hit by a propeller,” DeWit said.

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Atlantic seal-killing virus now present in the U.S. Pacific http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/363 http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/363#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2009 03:24:37 +0000 William http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/?p=363 A team of U.S. scientists has documented the first transmission of the lethal phocine distemper virus from the Atlantic Ocean to a population of sea otters living along the coast of Alaska.

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A team of U.S. scientists has documented the first transmission of the lethal phocine distemper virus from the Atlantic Ocean to a population of sea otters living along the coast of Alaska.

The presence of phocine distemper virus has been confirmed in nasal swabs take from live otters and through necropsies conducted on dead otters found along the Alaskan coast. The findings also indicate that the virus was passed between seal species across Northern Canada or Arctic Eurasia before reaching the otters in Alaska’s Kachemak Bay.

Prior to this study, PDV had never been identified as the cause of illness or death in the North Pacific Ocean and researchers suggest that diminishing Arctic sea ice may have opened a new migration route for both animals and pathogens.

The study was carried out by researchers from two California universities and the Alaskan branch of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It has been published in ”Emerging Infectious Diseases”, a journal published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What is phocine distemper virus (PDV)?

Phocine distemper virus (PDV) is a paramyxovirus of the genus Morbillivirus. It is dangerous for pinniped species, especially seals, and is a close relative of the canine distemper virus (CDV).

PDV was first identified in 1988 when it caused the death of approximately 18,000 harbour seals, Phoca vitulina, and 300 grey seals, Halichoerus grypus, in northern Europe. In 2002, the North Sea lost approximately 21,700 harbour seals in new a PDV outbreak – estimated to be over 50% of the total population.

Infected seals normally develop a fever, laboured breathing and nervous symptoms.

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White Southern elephant seal found on Marion Island http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/292 http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/292#comments Fri, 22 May 2009 01:52:55 +0000 William http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/?p=292 The first confirmed sighting of a leucistic Southern elephant seal has occurred on a beach on Marion Island, fairly near Antarctica. The entire seal is creamy white, except for eyes and nose which sports the brown colour normally seen in elephant seals.

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The first confirmed sighting of a leucistic Southern elephant seal has occurred on a beach on Marion Island, fairly near Antarctica. The entire seal is creamy white, except for eyes and nose which sports the brown colour normally seen in elephant seals.

It’s quite something in a species which is well-known,” says Ryan Reisinger of the University of Pretoria in South Africa, one of the researchers who discovered the seal.

There have been a few rare previous records of lighter coloured elephant seals, but none of these animals have been confirmed as leucistic. Reisinger and his colleagues have been researching Marion Island elephant seals for several years without ever encountering a leucistic specimen before.

See a picture of the seal here.

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