We are pleased to announce that we tagged two young female spotted seals near Scammon Bay on 18 October (SS16-10-F and SS16-11-F). These spotted seals were captured, tagged, and released by Morgan Simon and Wybon Rivers of Scammon Bay, and Mark Nelson (ADF&G). Morgan attended the hunter-tagger training workshop conducted by the Ice Seal Committee as part of their 2015 annual meeting. In an effort to get local youth involved with seal research, Morgan arranged for three high school seniors, River Simon, Theodore Sundown, and Jeremiah Kaganak to assist with the tagging. The students will be following the movements of these tagged seals as part of a school project. These were the tenth and eleventh spotted seals captured and tagged as part of our collaborative seal tagging project in 2016.
During the last 14 days we have received locations for 2 bearded seals, 2 ringed seals, and 9 spotted seals. One of the two bearded seals, BS16-07-F (dashed yellow line), is still moving within Norton Sound; the second bearded seal, BS16-06-M (dashed light green line), is west of St. Matthew Island in the central Bering Sea. One of the two ringed seals, RS16-07-M (yellow line), is still in the northern Chukchi Sea and is moving east toward the Alaska coastline; the second, RS16-02-M (red line), has moved along the Alaska coastline from Wainwright to Barrow. One male spotted seal, SS16-08-M (green line), is still moving along the coastline of Chukotka, Russia, and has entered many of the coastal bays. The two female spotted seals recently tagged near Scammon Bay, SS16-10-F (red line) and SS16-11-F (purple line) have moved north and east of Scammon Bay and are now near the Chukotkan coast. Spotted seals SS16-07-M (aqua line) and SS16-09-F (pink line) are in, or near the mouth of, Kotzebue Sound. Spotted seals SS16-01-F (orange line) and SS16-05-M (blue line) are near the barrier islands north of Point Lay. No clear satellite images were available from the NASA Rapid Response Network because of thick cloud cover again. Therefore, I used sea ice data courtesy of the U.S. National Ice Center and dated 31 October (http://www.natice.noaa.gov/products/).