What a monk seal sees

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fishyfishy
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What a monk seal sees

Post by fishyfishy » Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:49 pm

What does a monk seal see?
Crittercam to capture movements of endangered, persecuted animals
June 16, 2012
By AUDREY McAVOY , The Associated Press
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HONOLULU - Hawaiian monk seals need an image makeover.

Some fishermen blame the endangered species for stealing their catch. There are unfounded rumors that they devour and deplete fish stocks. And at least four of them have been killed by humans in Hawaii since late last year.

To help correct the misconceptions, government scientists plan to glue submersible cameras onto the seals' backs, using the footage to prove to fishermen that the animals are not harming their way of life. It may even end up on reality TV.

"It's following seals to have them tell their own story," said Charles Littnan, lead scientist for the National Marine Fisheries Service's Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program. They expect to see the seals dive for eels and fish on the ocean floor.

The "Crittercams," provided by the National Geographic Society, are the latest tactic to protect a population that is down to just 1,100 in Pacific Ocean waters around Hawaii. The killings were painful blows to a species on course to disappear in 50 to 100 years.

The deaths have come as resentment simmers while the species experiences a modest rebound around Kauai, Oahu and other islands where Hawaii's humans live.

There have been cases of people pestering seals: state officials found an Oahu teenager throwing rocks at a seal at a wildlife sanctuary in January. On Friday, the state said a court fined him $1,000 and sentenced him to 80 hours of community service for trespassing and harassing the monk seal.

Archaeological evidence - such as monk seal bones in a human trash pit dating between the 15th and 18th centuries - shows that the seals were around on these islands long ago. But most were hunted for their meat and fur by the early 1900s.

The seals were then generally found only among tiny, remote atolls northwest of Hawaii's main islands.

Their numbers started increasing about a decade ago around the main islands. Now, they regularly haul up on the sands of Poipu on Kauai and the rocky shorelines of Kaena Point in northwest Oahu. They've even appeared amid throngs of sunbathing tourists in Waikiki.

Though the seals have inhabited Hawaii for millions of years, their recent appearances are making them look like new arrivals to humans who haven't seen them in their midst for more than a century.

Starting this August, biologists will capture several seals, sedate them and use epoxy to attach the cameras to their hides. Littnan hopes the footage will prove several assumptions untrue.

Some people think, for example, that seals operate like swarms of locusts - tough to do when there are only 200 of them in the main Hawaiian Islands. Others believe the seals eat 600 pounds of fish a day - not plausible, since an adult weighs between 375 and 500 pounds.

"That's not even remotely physically possible," Littnan said.

The researchers are inviting fishermen and budding scientists at Hawaii high schools to join the research teams and watch the footage as it comes in. Students can submit essays to the Monk Seal Foundation by next month to win a spot on the research team. If the video proves compelling, the seals might see some TV spotlight.

Crittercams have changed perceptions before.

When scientists first used the cameras to study Hawaiian monk seals, most believed the animals fed among coral reefs. But Crittercams showed them swimming to barren sandy areas, diving to the ocean floor, flipping over rocks and eating fish and eels found underneath.

Researchers attached cameras only to seals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands that time. Seals around the main Hawaiian islands haven't been studied in the same way.

"Seeing what the animals really did rather than guessing about it was incredibly useful," said Kyler Abernathy, the National Geographic Society's remote imaging director of research.

Walter Ritte, a Native Hawaiian and longtime activist who has spoken against monk seal killings, said everything that can be done must be done to help the seals. But he's not sure the research will change attitudes.

In a state with deep respect for Hawaiian tradition and elders who know it well, Ritte said, elders should more actively pass on cultural legends - like stories of the deity Kuulakai - that teach how to properly fish, care for the ocean and manage stocks.

"All of that worked for thousands of years, and it's the essence of our culture," Ritte said. "We need to go back and remind the people who live here that that's the essence of who we are in the state of Hawaii. It goes in a total opposite direction from what is happening with the seals."
"No Resource, No Fisherman"
A post by Darrell Tanaka

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Re: What a monk seal sees

Post by kona-ulua-style » Sun Jun 17, 2012 4:27 pm

Any camera/video footages..can be cut or never shown.... We will ever be told the real "truths"... or see the real footages..?

More Seals have been "KILLED" by the researchers (NOAA)..trying to move the Seals to other locations...up NORTH...as told to us by Mike Sakamoto...a few years back... He meniton 9 were killed that year...

Not sure how many after that...they have too many Male seals...and in fights often killing the lone females... or when being caugth...the struggling seals...often accidental get kill...( You will never HEAR about those deaths)...

Aloha, Pictures tell the whole story...and only the storys they want you to SEE....!

kagami35
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Re: What a monk seal sees

Post by kagami35 » Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:00 pm

In this day and age video and photographs are often cut and altered to send the message the author wants you to see. Just look at the evening news. "Reality" TV is far from real.

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Re: What a monk seal sees

Post by baitcatchah » Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:53 pm

yes they show us every video except for the ones they eating baby tako and lobsters haha seal chichiron sounds goood haha

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Re: What a monk seal sees

Post by Pete_in_Hilo » Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:34 am

You guys are a trip...

Anyway, they've done this already in the NWHI. I watched the footage
at the 2007 Hawaii Conservation Conference. What you saw a lot of was
the shadowing behaviors of Uluas and Sharks. They follow the monk seals
around because the seals forage around on the bottom, getting at food that
the fish cannot. The sharks keep a distance, but the Uluas actually mob the seal,
swooping in to grab whatever it digs up of the bottom.

It was very cool video.

As for this vast conspiracy those government scientists are trying to pull off on you,
have no fear. I'm sure Fox Mulder is on the case.... :roll:
Now on Maui. Choose your nickname wisely....

The reason I fish is because I like to experience the fish. I want to see them, hear them, smell them. - Larry Dahlberg

fishyfishy
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Re: What a monk seal sees

Post by fishyfishy » Sun Jul 08, 2012 8:16 am

latest update from Charles Litnan, after an email exchange, he and his peeps agreed to change their study...from simply random sampling of seals...to that if they have a choice between two seals, one of which is known to have a history of interaction with fishers ie. hooked, stealing fish etc....they will pick the seal with the history of interaction to put the camera on. Sounds good to me.

if anyone else has suggestions to this situation, please chime in...or if you know of a seal, preferably one that can be identified and has caused trouble in the past, post here about it...preferably recent interactions if possible.
"No Resource, No Fisherman"
A post by Darrell Tanaka

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Re: What a monk seal sees

Post by fishyfishy » Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:53 am

just a tid bit to follow up...a few weeks ago we got to see a sample of a video of a monk seal cam, on molokai...I pity the guy who has to watch all those hours of vids..it was a lot of just swimming around stuffs..was cool cuz you could see other small fishies so I'm sure there will be some interesting footage, but for the most part, its gonna be tough just watching and waiting to see what they eat..and what they eat won't always be visible by the camera because of the position of the camera in relation to the seals mouth...it is fascinating though
"No Resource, No Fisherman"
A post by Darrell Tanaka

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