We are pleased to announce that during the last two weeks we tagged three young spotted seals in Dease Inlet, near Utqiaġvik, and one young bearded seal near Koyuk. The three spotted seals were tagged by North Slope Borough, Department of Wildlife Management (NSB-DWM) personnel as part of a collaborative effort between Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Arctic Marine Mammal Program and NSB-DWM. The bearded seal was captured, tagged, and released by Merlin Henry, a trained hunter-tagger from Koyuk, Merlin's daughter Evett Henry, and ADF&G personnel. Merlin has helped capture, tag, and release thirteen bearded seals over the last five years. We deployed CTD tags, made by the Sea Mammal Research Unit in St. Andrews, Scotland, and flipper-SPOT tags, made by Wildlife Computers in Redmond, WA, on all four seals.
During the last 14 days we have received locations for 1 bearded and 8 spotted seals. Bearded seal BS18-01-F (green square) was captured and tagged on the Koyuk River on 24 September and is currently located on a tributary to the Koyuk River. Two of the three spotted seals recently tagged in Dease Inlet (SS18-06-M, yellow circle; SS18-07-F, purple circle) have moved into the northeast Chukchi Sea and are generally located near the three spotted seals we tagged in the Beaufort Sea this summer. We have not received any locations from the third spotted seal recently tagged, SS18-08-F. This seal was tagged in Pittalukrauk Lake, a mostly freshwater lake. We expect to begin receiving locations from this tag once the seal moves into saltwater. Spotted seal SS18-01-M (orange circle) is currently moving along the north coast of Russia, west of Cape Schmidt. Spotted seals SS17-02-M (green circle) and SS18-02-M (brown circle) continue to make localized movements near Scammon Bay. Sea ice data are courtesy of the U.S. National Ice Center, dated 1 October (http://www.natice.noaa.gov/products/daily_products.html).