February 1, 2017
Here at SeaWorld, we love when there is an opportunity to see how animals that were rescued and rehabilitated flourish when they are returned back to the ocean. This is especially true when it comes to Chompers, a Guadalupe Fur seal that was rescued along California coast.
Credit: Dana Angus © The Marine Mammal Center, NOAA permit #18786
Over the past few years, The Marine Mammal Center (TMMC) has been crucial in the rescue and rehabilitation of Guadalupe Fur seals along the California coast. And with some help from SeaWorld, the Center has been able to effectively monitor these animals, post-return, with the use of SPOT tags. These tags, provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, allow researchers to keep track of rehabilitated animals once they are returned to the wild. The tagging of seals, like Chompers, by the The Marine Mammal Center and SeaWorld was used as a response to the 2013 Unusual Mortality Event (UME) which resulted in a record breaking number of rescues along the California Coast. By tagging and tracking these rescued, rehabilitated, and returned sea lions and seals, The Marine Mammal Center and SeaWorld have been able to conduct and collect valuable research used to combat the UME. In most cases the SPOT tags used for tracking these marine mammals will stop transmitting for any number of reasons... but that hasn’t been the case for Chompers!
Chompers, a female Guadalupe Fur Seal, was found stranded on June 16, 2016 in Monterey Bay. At the time she was estimated to be only 1 year old and weighed only around 8.5 kg. After four months of rehabilitation and gaining almost 13 kg at The Marine Mammal Center, Chompers was released into California waters on October 16, 2016.
Dawn Uhalley © The Marine Mammal Center, NOAA permit #18786
Since her release, Chompers has remained close by off the coast of central California. But last week we saw a change in movement. As you can see below, Chompers now seems to be heading south toward Mexico.
Map © The Marine Mammal Center
Where will she go next? We’re not sure, but we’re hoping her tag stays on so we can find out and continue to learn more about this amazing species.
Click here to learn more about the inspiring work The Marine Mammal Center continues to do with Guadalupe Fur seals.
Interested in learning more about these amazing animals? Log on to SeaWorldCares.com or visit the SeaWorld Park nearest you!