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As Suzuki is my witness, no seals will explode this day
November 27, 2013 6:41 PM   Subscribe

After today's troubling incident with the whale (see below) you might wonder what the hell is going on with the mysterious wiring in this batch of sea creatures, but fear not: the Vancouver Aquarium is just releasing these rehabilitated harbour seals back into the wild with some helpful satellite-linked transmitters on their heads.
posted by maudlin (27 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Uh-oh! Cyborg seals!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:43 PM on November 27, 2013


I work in underwater robotics and can I just say that seal-mounted sensors and transmitter technology have helpfully contributed to the miniaturization and reduction in power consumption of many sensors for my own platforms.

Thanks, seals!
posted by olinerd at 6:59 PM on November 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Thseals.

Also, Egg. Gub. Glegg.
posted by The otter lady at 7:04 PM on November 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


As if baby seals needed to be any cuter...
posted by Samizdata at 7:10 PM on November 27, 2013


Loose seals! (OK maybe time to put that particular meme out to sea. . .)
posted by Danf at 7:17 PM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, the whales eat the seals and then...

KABLOOEY!!!

?
posted by Ardiril at 7:23 PM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


As Suzuki is my witness, no seals will explode this day
Oh yeah?
posted by unliteral at 7:24 PM on November 27, 2013


This is really neat, as well as cute. While we're busy firing rockets off into space at great expense we might be better off trying to understand how our own oceans and their inhabitants work, rather than just exploiting them for their resources and simultaneously using them as dumping grounds.
There's lots of cool stuff going on in these parts now, which is encouraging.
posted by islander at 7:25 PM on November 27, 2013


OH MY GOD THEIR LITTLE FACES. They look so betrayed.
posted by elizardbits at 7:28 PM on November 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


why i am wear hat

am seal
posted by elizardbits at 7:28 PM on November 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


FRICKIN LASERS ON THEIR HEADS.
posted by GuyZero at 7:41 PM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


using them as dumping grounds

A crew of seals use the bay near my parents house as dumping grounds and let me just say their poops smell awful.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:52 PM on November 27, 2013


PS - I'm home for Thanksgiving and will be making poop jokes all night long so get ready folks.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:53 PM on November 27, 2013


So does yours, I'd wager. :-)
posted by islander at 7:54 PM on November 27, 2013


I survive entirely on a diet of rose petals and pine needles.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:55 PM on November 27, 2013


Oh, and gin and tonics swiped from my father's liqour cabinet, of which I have had several as is my holiday tradition.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:56 PM on November 27, 2013


The CBC has video of these seals being released. (Mrs. Junco volunteers for the Marine Mammal Rescue, and helping put these guys back in the wild is a highlight of every year.)

Oh, and a PSA: if you see a seal pup on the beach: Don't approach it! The mothers leave them on shore while they hunt. If she returns and sees a human too close, she'll likely abandon the pup. (And they definitely look cute, but they can give nasty bites and can also carry rabies.) If you suspect a seal is abandoned, observe it from a distance, if you can, for a few hours to see if its mother comes back or not, and contact a wildlife rehabilitator in your area, if there is one. Local aquariums should be able to tell you whom to call.
posted by junco at 8:03 PM on November 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh thank God, I finally figured out who the seals reminded me of. I can sleep tonight.
posted by maudlin at 8:04 PM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also you can see a map with the position updates from the seals' GPS trackers here. They were released from Porteau Cove Provincial Park, about 40km north of Vancouver -- where the long, straight line from the point in downtown Vancouver to the next position update leads. It looks like they've mostly spent this past week in Howe Sound, although one adventurous seal has crossed the Strait of Georgia twice and explored most of Burrard Inlet already!
posted by junco at 8:19 PM on November 27, 2013


They will fall off by the time the animals molt next spring, if not before.

Either they are misinformed about seal biology, or I am.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:21 PM on November 27, 2013


These little guys were released right into my backyard, as I live in Howe Sound. I'll keep an eye out for them while paddleboarding this winter, with their adorable little wireless outfits.
posted by salishsea at 8:22 PM on November 27, 2013


First thought: Remote control seals!
Second thought: BUMPER SEALS!
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:25 PM on November 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


junco..my guess is that they are following the coho up to the Squamish River. That salmon run peaks in December and everyone gathers there: seals, bears and eagles for what looks like a frigging National Geographic reunion every year.
posted by salishsea at 8:25 PM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also you can see a map with the position updates from the seals' GPS trackers...although one adventurous seal has crossed the Strait of Georgia twice and explored most of Burrard Inlet already!
Go Puck!
posted by islander at 8:27 PM on November 27, 2013


Either they are misinformed about seal biology, or I am.

Many (most? all?) seal species molt yearly, and have to remain hauled out, for the most part, while their hair (pelage) grows back.
posted by junco at 8:35 PM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


my guess is that they are following the coho up to the Squamish River.

That's a good thought, salishsea. It looks like one of them has spent a lot of time off Lighthouse Park. I saw a Steller Sea Lion in the same area about a week and a half ago, which was a surprise; I hadn't thought about the coho heading up the Sound.
posted by junco at 8:46 PM on November 27, 2013


Is this like a FitBit for seals? Are the baby seals in some kind of longitudinal study about daily activity? Would I walk more than 50 steps a day if I had a satellite-linked transmitter on my head? Especially if the antenna would only stream behind me (instead of bob enticingly right above my forehead) if I was in motion? Should cross-species cross-training be a thing?
posted by spamandkimchi at 1:51 PM on November 28, 2013


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