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.”
A harbor seal pup is being raised by its mom at Alameda Point. It is the fourth year in a row that a pup has been observed utilizing the harbor seal float. It is unknown where any of the pups were born.
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”
A new concrete float for harbor seals was delivered to Alameda Point on June 22. It is the first-of-its-kind on the West Coast. With seals starting to use the new platform, a milestone has been reached culminating two-and-a-half years of citizen advocacy to maintain a resting site for harbor seals at Alameda Point. A ferry maintenance facility is slated to begin construction this summer where the seals have been finding solitude for over a decade. The new float will be anchored 300 yards away to the east.
In an effort to acclimate the seals to their new float and surroundings, the float is being moved in stages to its permanent location. It will be anchored a hundred yards offshore from the Bay Trail near the soccer field on West Hornet Avenue.Continue reading “Harbor seals adapting to new float”