The Pacific Marine Mammal Center is fortunate to receive grant and foundation funding that allows us to satellite tag and track some of our released animals. Tags can provide us with important information: the movements and location of the animal, dive data (the depth and length of the dive), water temperature and salinity of the water. Other satellite tags just record the animal’s location. This scientific information is invaluable to our research regarding post-release monitoring, and provides PMMC with a small window into the intricate lives of our patients in their natural environment.
Each year, 6 to 8 animals are satellite-tagged and released by PMMC. The tracking device, either a splash or spot tag linked to wildlife computers, sends a signal for approximately 80 days to researchers at PMMC and to Robert DiGiovanni of the Greater Atlantic Marine Conservation Society, our collaborating research organization, for analysis. Mr. DiGiovanni also acts as Pacific Marine Mammal Center's chief scientist.
PMMC wishes to thank all of our satellite tag supporters for their contributions towards this project. If you would like to become involved in our post-release monitoring program please read about our Citizens of Science program. If you would like to sponsor a satellite tag, please email Keith Matassa, PMMC’s Executive Director, at email@example.com
10:30 am on August 5, 2016, Pacific Marine Mammal Center received a call about a California sea lion pup in need of help at “The Wedge” in Newport Beach. With the assistance of Newport Beach Harbor Patrol, PMMC’s rescue team was able to safely and successfully bring the animal back to the Center.
By 12:30pm, “Kershaw,” the 285th sea lion admitted to PMMC in 2016, had arrived at PMMC and was being examined by the Animal Care Staff. He was extremely underweight and undersize at 29 lbs, 38 inches long, and was suffering from severe malnutrition (starvation) and dehydration.
“Kershaw’s” treatment began with an electrolyte fluid diet for rehydration purposes, with fish being gradually added into the clear formula. After 24 hours of tube feedings, “Kershaw” began to eat fish. (Eating fish is a major achievement in the rehabilitation process as eating fish allows our pinniped patients to gain weight quickly and get back to their ocean home.) Thanks to the dedication of the PMMC animal care crew, “Kershaw” was soon competing with his pen mates, eating in the “big pools” and putting on much-needed weight.
On December 4, 2016, after 4 months of rehabilitation, “Kershaw” was medically cleared, tagged in the front left flipper with an orange Roto tag (#W1902) as well as a satellite tag placed on his upper back. Weighing 89 pounds, he was released at Aliso Creek Beach in South Orange County. With his satellite tag in place, scientists and researchers will be able to monitor “Kershaw” for many weeks post-release. Kershaw's satellite tag was funded via the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Stokes, PMMC donors.
Satellite Tracking - "Kershaw"
Days 24 Kershaw traveled South along the Baja California Coast, returning to Catalina Island at the end of day 42. Kershaw was sighted off Baja by a whale excursion group before heading further South near Campo La Chorera, Mexico. Kershaw spent time on Isla San Martin on his way back to Catalina Island.
Day 5 (December 9, 2016) finds Kershaw exploring and feeding off Catalina Island