Media Releases 2013

Posted on 09/08/2013 by Phillip Island Nature Parks

A PhD student and staff from Phillip Island Nature Parks visited Seal Rocks on August 8 to retrieve tracking devices, collect scats and free entangled seals where possible.

During the trip the team managed to disentangle two out of three seal pups from trawl net and a shred of material thought to be clothing. The third seal escaped into the water.

The recent trip is part of research being conducted by Macquarie University PhD student and Nature Parks’ research officer, Marcus Salton, who is looking at how the foraging behaviour of fur seals is related to changes in their environment.

Marcus has so far tracked 15 juvenile seals for more than 130 days. Thousands of dives have been recorded from each seal and one individual has been tracked travelling over 280 kilometres southeast of Seal Rocks. Typical dive depths have been to 80 metres and lasted approximately two minutes as the seals forage for small fish.

The crew also had a close encounter with a locally rare great skua, a predatory and scavenging bird who took a liking to a camera one of the researchers was carrying. The only other records of a great skua in the region are from 1966 at Seal Rocks and Cape Woolamai.

Seal disentangled August82013   great skua

pdf1Seal Rocks trip report

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