What can I say, sex sells
"This time of year, the cameras are trained on mothers nursing their pups at the small rookery on Chiswell Island, 35 miles south of Seward.
Research associate John Maniscalco is in charge of the remote video monitoring project for the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward.
“We see a lot of things that, of course, are very private,” he said. “But, of course, we are dealing with animals here... Sea lions don't have any sense of modesty.”
Scientists hope that monitoring the sea lions will help them understand why their numbers have declined so dramatically in south-central and western Alaska. The population is down about 70 percent since the mid-1970s."
The picture above was taken by yours truly several weekends ago. We were in Seward for a "threeee hour tooooour" with Renown Charters through Kenai Fjords Wildlife Refuge where we went to...you got it...Chiswell Island. The weather sucked but I was able to run in and out of the cabin to get warm and dry off between viewing/taking pictures. Our boat held 100 people confortably and was more like a floating restaurant/lounge then an actual boat. Some folks (many of the "blue haired" contingent) never even ventured out on deck...they looked at the pretty scenery from the warm comfort of the huge heated cabin, sitting in booths eating the provided lunch and even playing cards.
I never got the point of spending the money to come if that's all you were going to do.
Anyway, after the tour...where the weather really did start to get rough...we paid a visit to the Alaska SeaLife Center. Morrigan doesn't often get so excited that you can barely contain her, but she sure does there...especially when it comes to Woody, the love of her life!
Woody is the "king of the hill" at the SeaLife Center - a 1600 lb Stellar Sea Lion. Morrigan would have watched him for hours if we'd stayed.
Because of the sea lion issue, I've grown yet more disgusted with so-called "environmental" groups. Because of a lawsuit they filed
, much of the research had to stop, losing at least one' year's worth of data and possibly compromising some studies, forcing them to start over.
Scientists are lamenting the loss of untold amounts of data on Steller sea lions after their study permits were revoked in a lawsuit by an animal rights group in early summer, the best time of year for observing the endangered animals.
The decision found that the National Marine Fisheries Service, which issues the permits, had not properly assessed whether some research techniques, such as branding sea lion pups, were essential to studying the animals.
The ruling came soon after the start of annual May-to-August research at the marine mammals' remote breeding grounds along the southern edge of Alaska.
"We missed the peak pupping period," Lorrie Rea, head of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Fairbanks, said Wednesday. "We don't know how many gave birth and lost pups or had stillborns, so the data is all compromised."
Talk about not being able to see the forest for the trees, the organizations objected to the pain branding would cause the pups, without taking into account that marine mammals can't be "collared" or "tagged" - techniques used on land animals. The scientists MUST be able to track these pups to determine what may be causing their drastic decline in numbers.
Why do so many "environmentalists" decry the use of science, even when their big-picture goals are the same?
Labels: Alaska, behavior, mating, research, sea lion, Sealife Center, Seward, sexual assault, webcam