December 1st: ~48

Sea Lion of the Month

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Our Sea Lion of the Month for November is an animal that we saw during our research cruise! This month’s featured sea lion is ~48 and I suspect you will see him on Steller Watch images, if you haven’t already. This male was marked at Gillon Point on Agattu Island on June 23, 2011 which makes him over 7 years old! When he was marked he weighed about 71 pounds (32.2 kg) and was just over 3.5 feet (109 cm) long and almost 2.5 feet (79 cm) around his torso, just below his flippers. As a seven year old, he could be nearing sexual maturity but he’d still be too small to compete for a breeding territory.

 

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This sea lion has been seen him at Gillon Point during our summer visits and then otherwise he seems to be partial to hanging out at Cape Wrangell on Attu Island. Since 2011, we have seen each year during our annual research cruises, except for this past summer, in 2018. He has definitely been seen A LOT in past remote camera images up to year 2014. The reason we haven’t seen him in 2015 or later is because we still need your help to look through our backlog of remote camera images! Hopefully we see him again next year and maybe someday he will have his own breeding territory! Let us know in the Talk forum if you happen to see him in the remote camera images.

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Our last sighting of ~48 during the 2017 research  cruise. Look at that mane of thick fur coming in!

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! 

November 1st: >38

Sea Lion of the Month

 

^38_20170629_2_resize.JPGWe’re back from our summer field season and our Sea Lion of the Month for November is an animal that we saw during our research cruise! This month’s featured sea lion is >38 and I suspect you will see him on Steller Watch images, if you haven’t already. This female was marked at Hasgox Point on Ulak Island  on July 2, 2013 which makes her 5 years old! When she was marked she weighed about 76 pounds (34.6 kg) and was just over 3.5 feet (111 cm) long and almost 2.5 feet (76 cm) around his torso, just below his flippers. She was a pretty healthy sized pup and when we saw her this summer, still looked healthy.

 

SLM_extent.pngThis sea lion has been seen at Hasgox Point by scientists during each of the research cruises since she was marked in 2013. This means you have probably seen her in images from Ulak Island! Our observation of her during the 2018 cruise was an amazing milestone, she had her first pup (as far as we know)! It’s pretty exciting to see this sea lion grow up and now have a pup. Hopefully we see her again next year with another pup. Let us know in the Talk forum if you see her in the Steller Watch images!

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This is >38 observed by scientists in 2014 when she was a 1 year old!

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! 

June 1st: ~57

Sea Lion of the Month

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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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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~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!

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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

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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!

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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.

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

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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.

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~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?

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~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

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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…

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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.

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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!