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Tracking at sea

Axes with her pup

Female AXES with her pup after the deployment

During the 2009 breeding season we deployed six satellite tags on female southern elephant seals (SES hereafter) at Sea Lion Island (Falkland Islands; SLI hereafter), to track their movements at sea. Although SES females have been frequently satellite tagged in other populations of the South Georgia stock, this is the first time that a tracking-at-sea project on elephant seals is carried out in the Falklands. SLI represents an ideal place for a large scale tracking project, due to the tameness of the seals, the easiness of the logistics, and the availability of a large amount of background information on the possible subjects to be tagged. The information collected until now about movements at sea, although preliminary and based on a small sample, highlights some very interesting, and not expected, patterns, with some seals foraging rather close to the Falklands, and some other moving around the tip of South America to the Pacific Ocean. The fact that some females forage close, and in one case very close, to the Falklands suggests that there can be a direct interaction with human activities (fisheries, oil exploration), and a greater local responsibility in securing a safe future to SLI elephant seals than previously expected.

Report on the deployment

 

Map of the tracks

Map of the current tracks of the females at sea (last update: 23/02/2010)

Map of Axes's track at sea

Axes's track

Map of Berta's track at sea

Berta's track

Map of Tina's track at sea

Tina's track

Map of Feta's track at sea

Feta's track

Map of Wara's track at sea

Wara's track