In 2 weeks, we managed to successfully deploy all 19 satellite tags on these awesome and charismatic animals. It’s extremely rewarding knowing these fieldwork efforts are poised to generate one of the largest movement datasets available for this species! And what’s really cool is that we’re able to follow our 19 boys live and in real-time! You can also check out their journeys here: https://my.wildlifecomputers.com/data/map/?id=64ef0a9831af5925d1214a4a
In the 7 days we had remaining of the trip, Al and I turned our attention to another work task which was not so glamorous… collecting seal poo. The aim was to collect as much poo as possible to allow us to study fur seal diet. We scoured the island in the days we had remaining and managed to achieve a pretty good haul! Over 100 samples of seal poo all bagged up and waiting to be examined. We’re super excited about the work, but it’s safe to say the Lillibet crew were rather confused when we boarded with 3 bin liners filled with seal poo.
The excitement of our DPLUS168 project kept on rolling when we returned to Stanley. Sitting among the mountain of unread emails that had accumulated over the 3 weeks was the news that our recent research investigating the movement ecology of female South American fur seals had been accepted for publication in the journal Global Ecology and Conservation. Using two years of tracking data from female fur seals tagged at Bird Island in 2018 and 2019, this new study examined the spatial overlap with commercial fisheries in the Falkland Islands. In a nutshell, the study shows that fur seals and the commercial trawl fishery both target the same key habitats within the Falkland Islands Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), likely competing for important squid and finfish resources. The study is available open access here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2351989423002500