Daniel Costa at Isla Lobos, Uruguay-- We finished deploying 10 tags on the sea lions. It was an interesting experience working on a new species with a totally new field team, with variable experience. Most importantly is that, with the exception of Dave Shuman the vet who came along to do the anesthesia I had not worked with any of the people before. Having said that it was amazing how fast the field team came together even though some members spoke different languages (Spanish vs English).
A fur seal colony near our site. Photo: Daniel Costa.
The crew: 4 people in the the film crew of 4, 3 sea lions handlers (Loberos), 4 Uruguayan biologists and two US biologists. It was a large group of folks, but it was amazing how well we all worked together in the field. Here you can see the sea lion under anesthesia. That orange cone keeps the medicine flowing into the animal's face, and the white towel covers the animal's eyes to keep them calm while we attach the satellite tags.
A major component of this field effort was to train a new team of biologists in Uruguay to be able to carry out these kinds of studies on their own in the future. We also trained a Uruguayan veterinarian on how to do gas anesthesia with this species. In addition to the field work, there was a film crew that documented our work. They were with us for the entire field period. The plan is for them to develop a short documentary about our project and what its goals are. Attached are a few final photos of our field work.
Two male sea lions fighting to maintain their territories. Photo: Daniel Costa
This is the prime time as females are coming into estrus, so the stakes are high. The second is of a sea lion pup with a sea gull behind it and finally a picture of the fur seal colony at the back end of the Island. While there are around 100 sea lions, there are many more fur seals over 10,000 on this island. I hope you enjoyed the mini travel blog. We had an enjoyable and productive field season.
A sea lion pup out on the rocks. Photo: Daniel Costa.