Post-Release Monitoring

“Marino” California Sea Lion #13-091

Prior to release, each patient receives a small orange roto tag in the front flipper possessing a unique number. These tags may remain with the animal for years; reports of tagged animals provide information about survival and location. However, reading the tag number requires close proximity to the animal. To obtain more detailed post release information, satellite tracking is used.

California Sea Lion “Marino”(Zalophus californianus) #13-091, was admitted as a pup, during the 2013 California Sea Lion Unusual Mortality Event (UME). She was released on August 16, 2013, with flipper tag #27873, as well as a satellite tag. While under sedation, the satellite tag was adhered to the fur. The tag transmits details about the animal, her travels and post release survival. It will fall off when she goes though her annual molt. Battery life and position of the orbiting satellite determine the length of time and amount of data that can be collected.

Dr. Lauren Palmer, Marine Mammal Care Center LA, and Keith Matassa, Pacific Marine Mammal Center, secure the satellite tag while Marino is monitored under sedation. (see photo left)

Satellite tags are too cost prohibitive to be used on a large scale, but we are hoping to tag additional animals in the future. This effort was made possible through a collaborative effort between: the Marine Mammal Care Center LA in San Pedro, CA; the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation in Riverhead, NY; the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach, CA; and, our generous donor, Patricia Cornwell.

Check out her travels since being released at White Point beach in San Pedro, CA. Initially, Marino headed north, then west out to the Channel Islands, spending a few weeks around Anacapa Island. After a few months of going between the Channel Islands and the Los Angeles/Ventura County line, she headed south to LA’s South Bay Area. As of the last transmission, Marino continues her journey southward into San Diego County. During this time, she has traveled over 1,200 miles along more than 48 miles of Southern California coastline.

Map generated by Robert A. DiGiovanni Jr., Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation.

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