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Gray Seals, Once Hunted, Are Thriving In New England

Snow and ice cover can deception seals, creation it some-more formidable for scientists to guess a animals’ populations with accuracy.

Duke University


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Duke University

Snow and ice cover can deception seals, creation it some-more formidable for scientists to guess a animals’ populations with accuracy.

Duke University

The gray sign race in New England has bounced back, and new information points to how good sign numbers are doing.

Gray sign numbers had been decimated for some-more than a century when a Marine Mammal Protection Act was upheld in 1972. The animals were wanted in New England, and as NPR has reported, Massachusetts even paid a annuity of $5 each.

Though it has been transparent that a race has grown in number, it has been formidable to pinpoint only how much.

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“Past surveys formed on normal methods of counting, regulating assigned aircraft to consult seals on beaches, islands and anniversary ice cover, counted about 15,000 seals off a southeastern Massachusetts coast,” David W. Johnson, a highbrow of sea charge ecology during Duke’s Nicholas School of a Environment, pronounced in a statement.

“Our technology-aided aerial survey, that used Google Earth imagery in and with telemetry information from tagged animals, suggests a series is most incomparable — between 30,000 and 50,000,” he adds, job it a “conservation success.”

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The researchers also forked to “exponential growth” in a race from a Nova Scotia tact colony, where animals are famous to pierce south and clamp versa. The animals can grow to 10 feet prolonged and live adult to 35 years.

The team’s investigate published in BioScience counted gray seals along a coasts of Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Cape Cod. “These remote eye-in-the sky technologies make it easier and safer for scientists to investigate roving wildlife in remote locations and guess their numbers accurately,” Duke University pronounced in a statement.

The pinnipeds spend a lot of time in a water, and during aerial surveys their light-colored coats can mix in with ice and snow, that have acted hurdles to assessing their race in a past.

Satellite imagery and other regard technologies concede scientists to benefit accurate estimates some-more fast and easily.

Duke University/Google Earth


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Duke University/Google Earth

But regulating drones versed with thermal imagery record authorised a researchers to “see” animals that had eluded them in a past, and they used telemetry information to guess a apportionment of animals on land vs. in a water.

The surging gray sign race has rankled some fishermen. In 2012, Curt Nickisch reported for NPR that fisherman in Massachusetts complained of seals hidden their fish.

“The seals only lay there and eat a fish out of a net as it’s entrance adult into a boat,” fisherman Sam Fuller told Nickish. Fisherman are not authorised to shoo them away, he added.

Some groups have even advocated culling a sign population, Popular Science reported. But Johnson decried a thought as bootleg and premature.

“We know roughly zero about what gray seals eat, how and where they forage, and either they correlate in an ecological approach with fisheries,” Johnson told Popular Science. “There is really small justification that culling seals will boost fishery yields or yield certain effects on a internal ecosystem.”

At a same time, Nickisch reported a seals are renouned with tourists and seal-watching boats are a sepulchral industry.