Northern Fur Seals and The Pribilofs, Part Six

Seattle Aquarium mammal biologist, Julie Carpenter recently assisted NOAA scientists from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center with their annual research in the Pribliof Islands of Alaska, which are home to breeding colonies (or rookeries) of the northern fur seal. By collaborating on the research and actually participating in it side-by-side with the field researchers, Julie gained firsthand experience and knowledge of the research techniques and the technical challenges of working with the wild population, making her uniquely suited to bring a deeper understanding of this work back to the staff and visitors of the Seattle Aquarium. Through this collaborative relationship, our hope is to continue to educate people about the critical population studies being conducted annually in these far-off islands and the many issues surrounding the Pribilof fur seals. Learn about Julie’s experience in the Pribliof Islands in this six-part blog series.

Day 6

Our time is coming to a close, the day was spent breaking down blinds and cleaning up the lab and storage areas.

The crew loading up an observation blind for the winter. Complete with rainbow.

The crew loading up an observation blind for the winter. Complete with rainbow.

The entire week was packed with excitement (thank you so much for letting me join you!).  I’m leaving this experience in awe of the scientists who study Northern fur seals and a never ending respect for a species that despite some population rebound in the early part of the century from over hunting them for their fur is now declining again. By studying these animals NOAA scientists are continuing to learn about the species, why this population of fur seals continues to decline and what can be done to preserve them.

This was an amazing opportunity for me to see Northern fur seals in the wild and learn from the leading experts on this species. The Seattle Aquarium and the scientists at NOAA will continue to collaborate and share information on the conservation of Northern fur seals with the public through the Aquarium!

Northern fur seals on St. Paul Island.

Northern fur seals on St. Paul Island.

Vostochni Rookery; the largest on the island.

Vostochni Rookery; the largest on the island.

I’d like to thank the crew (the well-oiled machine) Tom, Jeremy, Rolf, Jim, Carey, Bobette, Juan, Jason, Mike, Rod, Ward, Devin, Pam and Lisa! I had an absolutely amazing time and learned a ton!

Come learn more about the northern fur seals at the Aquarium!

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