Project: Emergency Response Tagging and Satellite Tracking for Rehabilitated Pinnipeds (California sea lions)

Buzzi the California Sea Lion

Buzzi the California Sea Lion

Project: Emergency Response Tagging and Satellite Tracking for Rehabilitated Pinnipeds (California sea lions)

Since January 2013, elevated levels of malnourished sea lion pups and yearlings have been stranded on California beaches. More than 2,000 young sea lions have washed ashore in 2015 alone, too emaciated and dehydrated to care for themselves. Additionally, highly elevated numbers of Guadalupe fur seals, a species listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act, have also been noted. The unprecedented crisis has been declared an Unusual Mortality Event (UME), and rescue and rehabilitation networks are utilizing limited resources to respond.

Atlantic Marine Conservation Society worked with Pacific Marine Mammal Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, Fort MacArthur Marine Mammal Care Center, Channel Islands Marine Wildlife Institution, and Sea World San Diego to track rehabilitated sea lion pups and fur seals of all ages after release in order to ensure rescue efforts maximize long-term survival of California sea lions and Guadalupe fur seals.  While the direct and indirect causes of current elevated strandings are still under investigation, it is critical for rescue and rehabilitation programs to determine release success and long-term survival rates. This project was supported by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.


READ MORE ABOUT THIS PROJECT HERE.

Success Stories

Laura the California Sea Lion   Laura is a female sea lion that was rescued as a yearling from Cotton’s Point in San Clemente, CA on June 2, 2013. Emaciated and dehydrated, she spent 70 days in rehabilitation. Laura gained 25kg during this time and once deemed healthy, she was released back into the wild at Crescent Beach in Laguna, CA on August 11, 2013. Outfitted with an orange plastic Roto flipper tag with a unique identification number, we have been able to monitor her movements post-release, an invaluable tool to measure the success of rehabilitation efforts. Laura was observed three years later by a researcher in La Jolla Point. She was observed again in 2019, alert, vocalizing, and nursing her one year old pup, her newborn pup, and a third ‘adopted’ animal! She is a prime example of how tagging efforts can bring communities together, and get the public and other researchers involved in tracking animals.

Laura the California Sea Lion

Laura is a female sea lion that was rescued as a yearling from Cotton’s Point in San Clemente, CA on June 2, 2013. Emaciated and dehydrated, she spent 70 days in rehabilitation. Laura gained 25kg during this time and once deemed healthy, she was released back into the wild at Crescent Beach in Laguna, CA on August 11, 2013. Outfitted with an orange plastic Roto flipper tag with a unique identification number, we have been able to monitor her movements post-release, an invaluable tool to measure the success of rehabilitation efforts. Laura was observed three years later by a researcher in La Jolla Point. She was observed again in 2019, alert, vocalizing, and nursing her one year old pup, her newborn pup, and a third ‘adopted’ animal! She is a prime example of how tagging efforts can bring communities together, and get the public and other researchers involved in tracking animals.