Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A crew from the Pinniped Ecology Applied Research Laboratory (PEARL) with OSU's Marine Mammal Institute is helping the North Coast Marine Mammal Center (http://www.northcoastmmc.org/index.php) track a young female Steller sea lion who was released from the rehabilitation facility in Crescent City, CA on Saturday, March 27. Markus Horning and interns Julia Hager, Stephen Meck and Jennifer Olson glued a satellite transmitter to the fur on the animals' head using 5-minute epoxy. The transmitter allows researchers to track the sea lion's location on a daily basis. The device is expected to fall off by the annual molt in August.

This is the first time a Steller sea lion pup stranded on the Oregon coast is being tracked after release following rehabilitation. Usually, marine mammals stranded in Oregon are not rehabilitated, but since Steller sea lions are listed under the Endangered Species Act, special efforts to rescue the newborn pup were undertaken last June (in Gold Beach, OR). The animal has been cared for at the Crescent City facility since it's first week of life, and there is particular interest in following it's fate after relase. A special panel of Stranding Network experts convened to determine the releasability of the young sea lion, and recommended release. This led to the release authorization by the National Marine Fisheries Service and the stipulation to track the animal after release.

Location: Crescent City, CA

See pictures on Facebook here