Alameda Point harbor seal float inspires research at New York Aquarium
The harbor seal float at Alameda Point has been wildly successful. It started out as an experiment. Now it’s a model being studied at the New York Aquarium.
In July 2022, the Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium installed a float in an exhibit modeled after the float at Alameda Point. The research project was initiated by aquarium keeper Payden Sra as part of her work toward a graduate degree. Studying haul-out behavior of harbor seals in a controlled setting “can better advise conservation actions for the growing wild seal populations managed by local officials on the East Coast,” Sra wrote in the description of her study. “While once a rare sight, it is increasingly common to see seals in New York.”
The rain ended, the sun came out, and so did the harbor seals at Alameda Point. So many of them came out of the water to warm up on their new float on January 5, hardly any of the structure was visible. The number has many observers asking for a second float.
The regional ferry agency installed the new float after removing an old Navy dock used by the seals, in order to make way for a ferry maintenance facility.
“I nearly keeled over when I saw the platform,” said Lisa Haderlie Baker, harbor seal monitor and Alameda resident. “So many seals packed cheek by jowl, literally, that I had to count them four times using binoculars to make sure there were 60 of them, at least, basking in the sun, which I knew had to be close to a record. It was a tremendous thrill.” Continue reading “No vacancy on float for harbor seals”