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NZ fur seal with flipper tag

Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2023 2:06 pm
by Nikki McArthur
Hi all,

I was down at Cape Palliser a couple of weeks ago, and came across a young NZ fur seal with a small circular yellow tag in it's right flipper. Does anyone know where to report sightings of flipper-tagged seals, or who might be tagging them? I've done a quick Google search but didn't manage to find much...

Cheers,
Nikki

Re: NZ fur seal with flipper tag

Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2023 3:29 pm
by Colin Miskelly
Kia ora Nikki

I'll send you some suggested DOC email contacts by personal email.

I don't know if the programme is continuing, or whether it has been continuous since my own involvement c.1991 (when I worked for DOC on the West Coast), but at that time there was an annual programme of tagging a sample of fur seal pups at three West Coast colonies, with different coloured tags used for each sex (i.e. six colours of tags across the three sites).

White and yellow tags were used on Taumaka (Open Bay Islands, off Haast). I don't recall which colour denoted which sex. Each tag has a number stamped on it that marks the individual, as well as identifying its age (the tag colours just show location and sex).

Ngā mihi
Colin

Re: NZ fur seal with flipper tag

Posted: Sun Feb 26, 2023 4:44 pm
by Nikki McArthur
Thanks very much to both Colin Miskelly and Pat Miller for providing me with some advice on who to contact regarding this tagged NZ fur seal. I've passed the sighting along, so will post again to this thread if I receive any information back on where and when this seal was tagged.

In the meantime, I'd also done a second Google search on the topic, and had come across the following DOC web page with some advice on how to report tagged seals online:

https://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-animals/marine-mammals/seals/nz-fur-seal/docs-work/

The relevant hyperlink then redirects you to DOC's online marine mammal sighting form:

https://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-animals/marine-mammals/marine-mammal-sightings/marine-mammal-sighting-form/

I thought it'd be useful to post these two links here, for anyone else who may come across tagged seals on their travels.

Cheers,
Nikki

Re: NZ fur seal with flipper tag

Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2023 1:17 pm
by Nikki McArthur
Lauren Boren and Don Neale (both from DOC) have both kindly responded to my enquiry regarding this tagged seal that I spotted at Cape Palliser at the end of January. They've confirmed that the seal is a female that was caught and tagged on Taumata Island (Open Bay, Haast) sometime prior to 2021.

They also confirm what Colin had mentioned in his post - that each tag is numbered and notched to identify the individual and it's age class, but that these can be difficult to read at a distance. I did look for a number on the tag that I saw, but wasn't able to see it at the distance I was and armed only with binoculars, unfortunately.

Cheers,
Nikki