Rescued seal fitted with temporary satellite transmitter to aid scientific research into endangered species

17 Mar 2015

A rescued Guadalupe fur seal has been returned to the ocean with a temporary satellite transmitter to aid scientific research into where the threatened species travels and hunts.

The seal, which received four months of critical veterinary treatment from the SeaWorld San Diego Animal Rescue Team, will gather data via a transmitted fitted by scientists at the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute who hope to gain crucial data about where the threatened species travels, spends time foraging for food, and ultimately thrives in the ocean. Since its recovery from the brink of extinction in the early 1900s, the population, thanks to conservation efforts, has swelled to approximately 10,000. The Guadalupe fur seal is the least studied fur seal species due to its limited geographic range — south from the Guadalupe Island, Mexico to Southern California at San Miguel Island.

SeaWorld animal rescuers came to the aid of the seal that was found thin, lethargic and dehydrated and in need of urgent medical care 5th November 2014. Upon arrival at SeaWorld’s Animal Rescue Center, the pup weighed just four kilograms. SeaWorld animal caretakers and medical teams treated the seal with fluids, antibiotics and supportive care, which included a nutrient-rich diet of capelin, sardines and herring. The seal, whose weight more than doubled while in SeaWorld’s care, was returned to the ocean at a healthy eight kilograms, able to forage for food on its own.

The transmitter will dislodge from the seal when she molts within the next four months or so.

Earlier this month, the SeaWorld Rescue Team set a record with the 475 marine mammal to be rescued by the park in a single year. The park’s goal is to return rescued, nursed to health animals to the wild for a second lease on life. A dozen California sea lions that have been in the park’s care from five to seven months were returned to the ocean with the fur seal today.