Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010 at the East Jefferson County Marine Mammal Stranding Network

Here at the Marine Science Center, we manage the East Jefferson County Marine Mammal Stranding Network Hotline. This year we have had a total of 75 calls reporting 54 animals of 6 different species. 
The “percent response” shown above indicates how many calls about strandings were actually responded by a trained volunteer. While it initially appears as if our response has declined throughout the years, the number of calls has been increasing every year which naturally increases the difficulty of responding to every call. The growing number of calls is likely due to enhanced awareness of the network.

Unusual Stranding in Our Region
This year we had two fairly unusual strandings:
1. A harbor seal pup at Fort Flagler that  stuck around from 7/24 – 7/30, necessitating a large contingent of dedicated volunteers that were willing to remind inquisitive park visitors and their canine companions to keep their distance from the pup. The animal eventually swam away; a success story which helps to counterbalance the many deaths we witness.  
Photo by Janice Longstreet
2. A Steller Sea Lion carcass was found by Kateri Schmerler on 8/28/10 near Gardiner. We are in the process of collecting this skeleton.  Unfortunately, the skull has gone missing, but the PTMSC “C.S.I. Team” is hot on the trail!
Photo by Kateri Schmerler

The Stranding Network is enormously dependent on large group of trained volunteers. We're incredibly grateful for all they do; without their hard work and dedication our work would not be possible. To learn more information about the EJCMMSN or to get involved, check out our website (or send me an email!):

Jess Swihart
Natural History Exhibit Education Coordinator

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