June 1st: ~57

Sea Lion of the Month

Camera 2

The Sea Lion of the Month for May is one that was nominated by one of our Steller Watch team. This months’ sea lion is a bit of a master of disguise. In several images, his mark has looked like ~80 or ~50 but, we finally have him figured out, now! Our sea lion for June is ~57. This male was marked at Gillon Point (Agattu Island) on June 24, 2013. When he was marked he weighed about 54 pounds (25 kg) and was almost 3.5 feet (107 cm) long and over 2 feet (64 cm) around his torso, just below his flippers. He was a bit of a smaller pup but now he is almost 5 years.

SLofM

At first, we only saw ~57 at his birth place. But many of you have reported seeing just around the corner of the island, at Cape Sabak. Mostly, we have been seeing him from the remote cameras, as well. Keep an eye out and let’s see if we can find him on any sites?

Curious about other pinnipeds (seals and sea lions)? Check out our neighbors in the Pacific Islands to the south, the monk seals of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. The Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center features their own Monk Seal of the Month!


We will share the story of one marked sea lion each month. Be sure to check our Sea Lion of the Month page on the 1st of every month to learn about our featured Steller sear lion. You may nominate a sea lion by submitting their full mark on the Sea Lion of the Month nomination forum. Thank you all for your nominations! 

May 1st: ~16

Sea Lion of the Month

~16_20121023_2.JPG
Here you can see ~16 suckling from his mother in October 2012 when he was just over a year old.

The Sea Lion of the Month for May is one that was nominated by one of our Steller Watch team. This months sea lion is a male who we marked as ~16 at Gillon Point (Agattu Island) on June 23, 2011—this is when the first group of sea lions was marked in the western Aleutian Islands! When he was marked he weighed about 84 pounds (38 kg) and was almost 4 feet (113 cm) long and over 2.5 feet (79 cm) around his torso, just below his flippers. That is one big pup and ~16 will be 7 years old this summer!

SLM_extent.jpg

This sea lion is quite the adventurer judging by all of our sightings at six different locations! In fact, we have seen him at least once per year since he was marked. Mostly, it seems as though he was hanging around Agattu Island (both at Gillon Point, his birthplace and Cape Sabak). Then in 2013 he seemed to have spread his wings to nearby Alaid and Attu Islands. When he was in 2014 he began to range farther and we saw him at Buldir and Ulak Island in between visits back to Agattu and Alaid.

~16_20160630_2
~16 from an aerial perspective with the drone during the summer of 2016.

I expect that during the summer breeding season, now that he’s getting a bit older, we’ll see him around Gillon Point since he’ll be hoping to someday be big enough to defend a breeding territory. Kind of like in 2016 when we saw him with our drone!

~16_20161005
Fall of 2016, ~16 was spotted at Hasgox Point at Ulak Island.

Curious about other pinnipeds (seals and sea lions)? Check out our neighbors in the Pacific Islands to the south, the monk seals of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. The Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center features their own Monk Seal of the Month!


We will share the story of one marked sea lion each month. Be sure to check our Sea Lion of the Month page on the 1st of every month to learn about our featured Steller sear lion. You may nominate a sea lion by submitting their full mark on the Sea Lion of the Month nomination forum. Thank you all for your nominations! 

April 1st: ~91

Sea Lion of the Month

~91_20140625.JPG

Happy April Fool’s day! The Sea Lion of the Month for April is no joke. This male sea lion was marked at Gillon Point (Agattu Island) on June 24, 2013. That means he will be 5 years old this summer! When he was marked he weighed about 51 pounds (23.2 kg) and was just over 3 feet (98 cm) long and 2 feet (64 cm) around his torso, just below his flippers.

According to our sighting records, the only time we see ~91 is from remote camera images captured at Alaid Island in the summer of 2014!

SLM_extent

We have never seen him during our summer research cruises. This is a case that definitely shows how vital these remote cameras and your efforts to classify images is to finding these marked animals! If we didn’t find animals like this that we miss during our summer cruise, we would not be able to accurately estimate important population rates that will help us figure out why this part of the population continues to decline.

Luck for us, you diligent and skilled Steller Watch citizen scientists have your eyes peeled and discovered ~91 on Gillong Point in the images posted to our current workflow. Keep up the great work!

 

Curious about other pinnipeds (seals and sea lions)? Check out our neighbors in the Pacific Islands to the south, the monk seals of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. The Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center features their own Monk Seal of the Month!


We will share the story of one marked sea lion each month. Be sure to check our Sea Lion of the Month page on the 1st of every month to learn about our featured Steller sear lion. You may nominate a sea lion by submitting their full mark on the Sea Lion of the Month nomination forum. Thank you all for your nominations! 

March 1st: ~35

Sea Lion of the Month

The Sea Lion of the Month for March is ~35. This sea lion was in the first group of sea lions that was marked on Gillon Point (Agattu Island) back in 2011 and has had a pretty adventurous life so far! When this female was marked on June 23, she weighed about 53 pounds (24.2 kg) and was almost 3.5 feet (105 cm) long.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
~35 after she was marked on Gillon Point (Agattu Island) on June 23, 2011.

SLM_extent

In our records, we only saw ~35 once more on June 23, 2014 and then we never saw her again… Where could she have gone? Well, it turns out, she showed up again in 2016 all the way on Medny Island in the Commander Islands in Russia! This Island group is the next group just west of the Near Islands which is the westernmost part of the United States.

The great news was that when they spotted her at the Medny field camps, she had just birthed a pup! This means she was 5 years old when she had her first pup. She also gave birth to her second pup this past summer of 2017.

~35_20160617_092623_DSCF1108_CI_crop
~35 spotted in 2016 with her first pup in Russia. You can also see M750, an adult female marked on Medny Island.

This sea lion isn’t the only one to show up in Russia, they also spotted ~141 last summer for about five days on the Medny Island rookery among hundreds of fur seals! Can you see how much smaller fur seals are compared to Steller sea lions?

SONY DSC
~141 from Gillon Point (Agattu Island, U.S.) spotted among northern fur seals on Medny Island from July 30 to August 8 in 2017.

Curious about other pinnipeds (seals and sea lions)? Check out our neighbors in the Pacific Islands to the south, the monk seals of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. The Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center features their own Monk Seal of the Month!


We will share the story of one marked sea lion each month. Be sure to check our Sea Lion of the Month page on the 1st of every month to learn about our featured Steller sear lion. You may nominate a sea lion by submitting their full mark on the Sea Lion of the Month nomination forum. Thank you all for your nominations! 

February 1st: A1

Sea Lion of the Month

a1ss.png

I thought for this month’s featured sea lion, it would be interesting to share the story of a male sea lion that we have observed over his entire life-span. The February Sea Lion of the Month is A1. When we would see him in the field, we would fondly call him, “steak sauce,” after the well known A.1. Steak Sauce. Did you know, according to Wikipedia, in 1824, the English King George IV tried the sauce and called it “A.1.”, the highest category to classify ships for insurance purposes (meaning high quality)? And so was the name coined…

SLM.png

Anyway, the sea lion, A1, was the first to be marked on Ugamak Island in 2001 on June 27th. At the time, he was just under 3.5 feet (99 cm) long and weighed just over 50 pounds (24 kg). Typical of male juvenile sea lions, he was not seen much after 2001 until 2004 at Billings Head on Akun Island. Shortly thereafter in June, he returned to his birth place, Ugamak Island. The next sighting was all the way up at St. George Island (of the Pribilof Islands, in the Bering Sea), almost 300 miles north, in January. He then went back to Billings Head in May before being spotted again on Ugamak during the summer breeding season.

From then on, it seems A1‘s general trend was to spend some time on St. George in the winter, and always returning to his birth place on Ugamak during the summer breeding season. In fact, amazingly, he held a breeding territory with females (also called a “harem”) for 5 summers in a row from 2008 (when he was 7) to 2013 (when he was 12 years old. That’s quite impressive considering that means he was onshore fasting while holding those territories. This also means he was involved in many territorial fights with other males, which is very obvious in this picture where you can see several superficial wounds.

a1_20120605.jpg

Our last sighting of A1 was on July 5, 2013, on the haulout part of the rookery, where males without breeding territories hang out with other males. He had arrived on Ugamak on May 29 of this year and held a territory however, he did not have any females until June 28th and only until July 4th. It’s hard work maintaining a territory and it seems this was his final year to do so. Since it’s been almost 5 years since we have seen him, and he would be almost 16 years old by now (which is fairly old for a male sea lion), it’s likely steak sauce has died. But, I still hold out hope that we will catch a glimpse of him one last time living the good life on St. George…

Curious about other pinnipeds (seals and sea lions)? Check out our neighbors in the Pacific Islands to the south, the monk seals of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. The Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center features their own Monk Seal of the Month!


We will share the story of one marked sea lion each month. Be sure to check our Sea Lion of the Month page on the 1st of every month to learn about our featured Steller sear lion. You may nominate a sea lion by submitting their full mark on the Sea Lion of the Month nomination forum. Thank you all for your nominations! 

January 1st: ~1

Sea Lion of the Month

SLofMHappy New Year! Since we are at the beginning of a brand new year, I thought we could look back to the beginning of this project. The Sea Lion of the Month for January  is ~1, who was the first pup marked back in 2011. This sea lion is a female that was marked on June 23, 2011 at Gillon Point (on Agattu Island). She weighed about 54 pounds (24 kg) and was almost 3.5 feet (103 cm) long.

She has proven to be quite the home-body, staying around Agattu Island. We have spotted her mostly in remote camera images at both Cape Sabak and her birth place, Gillon Point, on Agattu Island. She stuck around Gillon Point until the spring of 2012 and then she must have gone somewhere with her mother by the time summer came around because we didn’t see her in person or in our remote camera images again until the spring of 2013!

~1_20130617_2.jpg
Here is an image of ~1 captured on June 17, 2013. She is about two years old in this image and looks quite cozy snuggled up to a mother-pup pair!

From spring of 2013 through 2014,  she stayed mostly at Cape Sabak with some intermittent visits back to Gillon Point. Below you can see an image we took of ~1 during our visit to Gillon Point on June 23, 2015, exactly 4 years after the day we captured her in 2011. She’s was looking great and as you can see has developed some fungal patches. These fungal patches (circle markings) are harmless and usually permanent which can help us identify her in the future!

 

~1_20150623

We saw her again in 2016 but this time with a pup (no picture taken but the sighting was confirmed)! True to form, this female sea lion must have bred when she was 4 and then had her first pup the following summer when she was 5. Though we didn’t see her in 2017, hopefully you all are seeing her in remote camera images and we will see her next summer with another pup!

Curious about other pinnipeds (seals and sea lions)? Check out our neighbors in the Pacific Islands to the south, the monk seals of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. The Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center features their own Monk Seal of the Month!


We will share the story of one marked sea lion each month. Be sure to check our Sea Lion of the Month page on the 1st of every month to learn about our featured Steller sear lion. You may nominate a sea lion by submitting their full mark on the Sea Lion of the Month nomination forum. Thank you all for your nominations! 

December 1st: ~92

Sea Lion of the Month

The Sea Lion of the Month for December was nominated by a dedicated Steller Watch Citizen Scientist: ~92! This sea lion is a male that was born on Gillon Point on Agattu Island (this island is assigned the ~ symbol). When we captured him June 24, 2013 to he weighed just over 60 Ibs (27.4 kg) and was over 3.5 ft long (111 cm) and almost 3 ft (83 cm) around his torso (measured just below the front flippers). not the heaviest pup we have seen but quite long!

~92_20140414.JPG
This is a remote camera image of ~92 suckling from her mother on April 14, 2014 on Gillon Point (Agattu Island).

This sea lion has been seen on only two islands both in remote cameras and during our research cruise in 2014 and 2015. We also saw ~92 just this past summer (2017) in our our hexacopter drone images in 2017 (see the featured blog image above). He mostly hung out at Gillon Point from when he was born to when he was about a year old, finally moving on to Cape Sabak (still Agattu Island) in the spring of 2014. Since then it seems he’s mostly stuck around! I wonder where he will end up once he’s old enough to compete for a breeding territory? Based on typical behavior of male sea lions, I would suspect back at Gillon Point!

SLofM

Curious about other pinnipeds (seals and sea lions)? Check out our neighbors in the Pacific Islands to the south, the monk seals of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. The Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center features their own Monk Seal of the Month!


We will share the story of one marked sea lion each month. Be sure to check our Sea Lion of the Month page on the 1st of every month to learn about our featured Steller sear lion. You may nominate a sea lion by submitting their full mark on the Sea Lion of the Month nomination forum. Thank you all for your nominations!