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Scientists to tag cameras to Hawaiian seals

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaiian priest seals need an picture makeover.

Some fishermen censure a endangered species for hidden their catch. There are ungrounded rumors that they assimilate and exhaust fish stocks. And during slightest 4 of them have been killed by humans in Hawaii given late final year.

To assistance scold a misconceptions, supervision scientists devise to glue submersible cameras onto a seals’ backs, regulating a footage to infer to fishermen a animals are not harming their approach of life. It competence even finish adult on existence TV.

“It’s following seals to have them tell their possess story,” Charles Littnan, lead scientist for a National Marine Fisheries Service‘s Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program. They design to see a seals dive for eels and fish on a sea floor.

The “Crittercams,” supposing by a National Geographic Society, are a latest tactic to strengthen a race that is down to usually 1,100 in Pacific Ocean waters around Hawaii. The killings were unpleasant blows to a class on march to disappear in 50 to 100 years.

The deaths have come as rancour simmers while a class practice a medium miscarry around Kauai, Oahu and other islands where Hawaii’s humans live.

There have been cases of people pestering seals: state officials found an Oahu teen throwing rocks during a sign during a wildlife refuge in January. On Friday, a state pronounced a justice fined him $1,000 and condemned him to 80 hours of village use for trespassing and badgering a monk seal.

Archaeological justification — like priest sign skeleton in a tellurian rabble array dating between a 15th and 18th centuries — shows a seals were around on these islands prolonged ago. But many were wanted for their beef and fur by a early 1900s.

The seals were afterwards generally usually found among tiny, remote atolls northwest of Hawaii’s categorical islands.

Their numbers started augmenting about a decade ago around a categorical islands. Now, they frequently transport adult on a sands of Poipu on Kauai and a hilly shorelines of Kaena Point in northwest Oahu. They’ve even seemed amid throngs of sunbathing tourists in Waikiki.

Though a class is ancient and has inhabited Hawaii for millions of years, their expansion is creation them demeanour like new arrivals to humans who haven’t seen them in their midst for some-more than a century.

Starting this August, biologists will constraint several seals, composed them and use glue to insert a cameras to their hides. Littnan hopes a footage will infer several assumptions untrue.

Some people think, for example, that seals work like swarms of locusts — tough to do when there are usually 200 of them in a categorical Hawaiian Islands. Others trust a seals eat 600 pounds of fish a day — not plausible, given an adult weighs between 375 and 500 pounds.

“That’s not even remotely physically possible,” Littnan said.

The researchers are mouth-watering fishermen and budding scientists during Hawaii high schools to join a investigate teams and watch a footage as it comes in. Students can contention essays to a Monk Seal Foundation by subsequent month to win a mark on a investigate team. If a video proves compelling, a seals competence see some TV spotlight.

Crittercams have altered perceptions before.

When scientists initial used a cameras to investigate Hawaiian priest seals, many believed a animals fed among coral reefs. But Crittercams showed them swimming to empty sandy areas, diving to a sea floor, flipping over rocks and eating fish and eels found underneath.

Researchers usually trustworthy cameras to seals in a northwestern Hawaiian islands that time. Seals around a categorical Hawaiian islands haven’t been complicated in a same way.

“Seeing what a animals unequivocally did rather than guessing about it was impossibly useful,” pronounced Kyler Abernathy, a National Geographic Society’s remote imaging executive of research.

Walter Ritte, a Native Hawaiian and longtime romantic who has oral conflicting priest sign killings, pronounced all that can be finished contingency be finished to assistance a seals. But he’s not certain a investigate will change attitudes.

In a state with low honour for Hawaiian tradition and elders who know it well, Ritte said, elders should some-more actively pass on informative legends — like stories of a deity Kuulakai — that learn how to scrupulously fish, caring for a sea and conduct stocks.

“All of that worked for thousands of years, and it’s a hint of a culture,” Ritte said. “We need to go behind and remind a people who live here that that’s a hint of who we are in a state of Hawaii. It goes in a sum conflicting instruction from what is function with a seals.”


Online: http://www.monksealfoundation.org/research.aspx

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