Wednesday, March 27, 2013

2013 pups born

Brian Hatfield, USGS Wildlife Biologist, gave this report:

 2013 Piedras Blancas Northern Elephant Seal Breeding Season Summary

The elephants seal colony at Piedras Blancas continues to grow. The total number of live pups,
weaners (weaned pups), and orphaned pups counted at the end of the 2013 season was just over
4,800 seals - up 4% from the 2012 season (Figure 1). Based on a rough estimate of the actual
number of births, it appears that pre-weaning mortality was fairly low again this year (about 7%),
which is not surprising considering we had another mild winter. There were increases in three of
six survey segments compared to last year, with the biggest increase being in the area from
Arroyo Laguna and South, followed by the area from Pt. Piedras Blancas to South Point (Figure
2). With the exception of a single pup born (and weaned) just up coast of the Piedras Blancas
Motel (site), there was no expansion of the breeding range along the coast.
* does not include VP-3 ** includes cove just south of dunes ^ does not include beach at Arroyo Laguna

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