Tagging sea lions with hair dye to help science

17-October-2022 (written by Jessica Pearce)

SequeiraLab leader, Dr Ana Sequeira, recently flew back to the west coast to participate in an exciting new project satellite tagging endangered Australian sea lions on Carnac Island off Perth, Western Australia.

This project, led by Assoc. Prof Chandra Salgado from the Edith Cowan University (ECU) as well as by Dr Kelly Waples and Dr Holly Raudino from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), is a wide collaboration between ECU, DBCA, the University of Western Australia (UWA), the Australian National University (ANU), and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD). It aims to study how these sea lions use Perth’s metropolitan waters to inform conservation efforts and it forms part of the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) Westport Marine Science Program.

The team of researchers are tagging the sea lions with devices that track their movements to better understand how they use the waters in the region. They are also using hair dye, a safe and non-invasive method to mark these animals in an effort to estimate population size. Four sea lions were successfully tagged with tracking devices and marked with the temporary hair dye (which last roughly two months) will allow easy identification of individual sea lions while they move between the six haul-out beaches within the Perth metro area. It will be exciting to learn what these sea lions are up to around Perth!

You can read ECU’s press release about the project here.

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