Seal Tagging

The first seal pup of the year has just been born, so I thought I would post about the seals we see over the year.

Now I don’t tag seals but I have been taking pictures of the seals over the last few years and trying to get the numbers from the tags to find out where they come from, how old they are and any other information I can find out.

2012 was a very successful year for the seal tags and we also saw a few branded seals. Now I don’t know if it’s because we have been paying more attention and looking for the tags more or they are swimming down from other area’s to feed at the Farnes, but this is one of the things that I will learn from the tags and branded seals.

The only thing that is a pain, are the tags. I don’t want to tell the guys that tag the seals how to do their job but alot of the tags are just not good enough. They are tagged on their fins, flippers or tails, whatever you want to call them but after a while the numbers rub off.

We have seen some yearlings this year and you can’t see the numbers at all. Yes I can take pictures of the sides of the seals and they can match the seals patten and identify it but this is a long and slow process.

Branded seals are more visible and easy to read but this method was stopped in 1996 and I don’t blame them for stopping it as it does not look very nice and it is a bit cruel to the seals, but if someone can come up with a better idea or better tags it will be more beneficial for the guys who put in all the hard work in tagging the seals. I must have seen about 10 or so seals this year in which I can’t see the tags and they are in such a position that I even can’t get a picture of the side of them.

Oh well never mind I will keep on trying to find tags and hopefully help the guys to find out more about the seals and you never know we might find the world record for the oldest grey seal.

2012 Results

Tagged seal on South
Whames 73212 – Tagged as a weaned pup on the Isle
of May in November, 2011
2 Branded Seals on
Longstone Island C9 and 3V – C9 branded as an adult
breeding female on 21/11/1989 and 3V branded as a weaned pup on 30/11/1991 both
from the Isle of May as part of the long term study
Tagged seal on
Longstone Island 72912  — Tagged and released by
the SSPCA at Inverkeithing in 2012.  Probably a pup also born on the Isle of May
in the autumn of  2011 as most of the grey seals they rehabilitate are from that
breeding colony.
Tagged seal on
Longstone 73065 – Tagged as a weaned pup on the
Isle of May in November, 2011
Branded seal on
Longstone with a big   A number of weaned pups were all branded with a big V in
the middle of their backs so they could be identified to year of birth.  So this
guy was branded in November 1991.  This was the only year they did this cohort
branding in the end, so if you see any more, they will all be 1991 animals (so
22 years old!)
Tagged seal on
Scarcar Island 73189 – Tagged as a weaned pup on
the Isle of May in November, 2011
Tagged seal on
Longstone 73020 – Tagged as a weaned pup on the
Isle of May in November, 2011
Tagged seal on South
Whames 72896 – Tagged as a weaned pup on the Isle
of May in November, 2009
This is fascinating stuff and next I see these seals I will know how old they are by just looking but I will still send my sightings off as it is more important to them than it is me. 
I would like to thank the guys for all their hard work and keep it up guys.

These are some of the seals we see around the Farnes. 




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