Monday, September 18, 2006

How to Release a Seal........

in 7 NOT so easy steps! That's right, our babies are finally big enough that we have started releasing the heavier ones! We have a release weight of around 55lbs. and once they hit that weight, it's time to think about saying "Goodbye and good luck!" This is done in steps as follows:

Step 1. Take one last blood draw to make sure they are healthy and also put a flipper tag in. I have never been there for this pre-release step, but have been there for intake blood draws and even with the babies it isn't easy!

Step 2. On release day, catch one of the tagged seals......


and drag it to the scale to be weighed one last time.

Step 3. Have one individual brave enough to wrangle the seal out of the net, as they can be VERY snappy,.......

and hopefully that SAME someone is willing to sit on the seal to immobilize it.

In this case, it was our wonderful Educational Director, Shona!

Step 4. Take fecal samples for a research project being done, I'll spare you that image, and measure the seal to the best of your abilities.

Obviously, this is not an exact measurement, but rather a close guesstimate.

Step 5. Get the ever so reluctant seal into its travel crate.......


and loaded into the truck.

Step 6. Upon arrival at the release site, carry the crates down to the beach....

and line them all up.

Step 7. Open the crates, stand back, and WATCH!

Some go barreling out of their carriers and never look back.

And others...well....it's a big ol' scary world out there.

Care to take a guess at who this reluctant girl is? No? No guesses? It's Humuhumu!!! Yes, the most reluctant one to get INTO the crate was, as it happens sometimes, the most reluctant to get OUT of the crate. Thankfully, some of the other seals came back over and coaxed her out.

Weighing in at a VERY hefty 65 lbs., Humuhumu was the largest seal we released and it showed when she tried to move on the beach, TRIED being the operative word here! But once she got out into the water, she was just fine.

That's it for now. I will TRY and do one more posting this week, we got in one of my VERY favorite animals and I got to help feed it on Saturday, as I won't be at Wolf Hollow this weekend due to being at my sister's wedding. Til next time!

8 comments:

Shannon said...

Wow, it's so interesting to see how it's done! Looks very tiring but very rewarding.

Abby Smith said...

Thanks for the update, Heather! I miss the "little" seals! I can't believe they're already being released...

Robin said...

I'm so pleased that San Juan Islander listed your blog, which I otherwise would probably not have discovered. Fascinating reading back through all your posts, and wonderful pictures! This recent post about releasing a seal is a delightfully illustrated story... Who would have guessed the process has so many steps? Thanks for taking the time to share Hollow Happenings with us!

Anonymous said...

How neat! Having grown up without pets and having to wait until I was "out on my own" to get one, I've never ceased to be amazed at their personalities and expressions and obvious feelings/opinions about things.

sher said...

What great pictures! You do amazing work!

Heather said...

Thanks everyone! I will do another post hopefully tonight and post pics of Shanny's wedding as well.

annelynn said...

Hey Heather -

You don't have an email listed so I'm posting here. Thanks for your call the other night! It was a pleasure talking to you. It was a nice surprise to hear your voice on the line!

Thanks for asking how I'm doing. I couldn't really talk about that when you called because M. was home and sitting right there. Being that he would have been the topic at hand, I couldn't really say anything about it.

Also - I'm glad my shoes fit you!

Anonymous said...

I am the person that called in an Owl in January. This Owl was in the middle of highway 20 just a couple of miles west of the Burlington freeway overpass. It was right across the highway from the Draper Valley egg farm with an obviously damaged wing.

Did this owl make it?