Seal Counting from air

Seal Center specialists are now working on counting harborur seals from air.  The goal of the project is to evaluate 3 diffferent methods of counting from air, by an airplane, a drone and from a helecopter. The methods will be compared.
 
The last count from air was done all around Iceland in 2011. This year we did not receive funding to count all over the country. The colonies that are being counted this year are:  Akraós, Löngufjörur, Heggstaðanes, Hvammsfjörður, Vatnsnes, Strandir, Ísafjarðardjúp, Rauðisandur, Arnarfjörður og Suðurland. 
 
Project manager is Sandra Granquist, co project manager is Erlingur Hauksson.
 
Tryggvi Stefánsson specialist at Svarmi with the drone that is being used for counting the harbour seals.
 
Project managers Erlingur Hauksson and Sandra Granquist
 
Seal colony by air

Master Student at the Seal Center

Specialists at the Seal Center ofthen get requests to supervise studends working on their thesises. Currently Sarah Marschall a master student at the University Center of the Westfjords is working on her master thesis under the supervision of both Sandra Granquist our head of biology department and Dr. Leah Burns our head of tourism reasearch department. Sarah is working on a project on how to best get information to tourists regarding how to behave around wild animals to minimize negative effects.

Sarah Marschall (left) wit Valerie volunteer at the Seal Center. Valerie assists Sarah doing field work in august.  

Volunteers at the Seal Center this summer

Two volunteers have been assisting Sandra Granquist head of our biology department this summer. One a fully licensed veterinarian from Germany, the other a veterinarian student from France. They have mainly been doing work at our laboratory, preparing samples etc. Being able to get volunteers to assist at the Seal Center is very important for the operation of the Center and we thank them for their help this summer.

Valerie Scoll veterinarian student from France working
at the Seal Center lab.

North west bird Trail

For the past few weeks the Seal Center has been the project manager of making a birding trail in the North west on behalf of Ferðamálasamtaök Norðurlands vestra. Ellen Magnúsdóttir biologist was hired to monitor possible sites and her job is now coming to an end. Following her research of the sites a map will be made with information on species at each location  as well as a webpage for the project. 

Ellen Magnúsdóttir

Project sponsor:

The Great Seal Count 2014 Results

On July 27th seals at the coastline of Heggstaðanes and Vatnsnes, total of 100 km,  were counted by the Seal Center’s specialists and volunteers. This is the eight time that the counting takes place.

This year total of 706 seals were counted (mostly harbouseals). That number is slightly smaller than in 2013, when the result was 757 animals. In 2012 the number was 614. It is important to keep in mind that these numbers are only a clue to the minimum amount of seals in the area. Alot of factors affect the number of seals that can be spotted, weather beining one of them.

It is also important to keep in mind that the numbers do not indicate the total population of the Harbour Seal. Later this summer a population evaluation will be done by the Seal Center. The last population evaluation in Iceland was done by the Seal Center in 2011 and the results indicate that the population has been the same since 2003 at a total of just under 12 thousand animals. 

We want to take the oppotunity to thank all the volunteers that have helped during the Great Seal count throughout the years. We also thank the sponsors of the Great Seal Count. This year our sponsors were: Kaupfélag Vestur Húnvetninga, Hótel Hvammstangi, BBH útgerð, Söluskálinn Harpa, Húnaprent og Brauð og kökugerðin Hvammstanga.

Sandra Granquist (dýraatferlisfræðingur), verkefnisstjóri.

Seal Center stadd and volunteers prepare the Great Seal Count befor heading out to the field.

 

The Great Seal Count

During the Great Seal Count the coastline of Vatnsnes and Heggstaðarnes in Húnaþing vestra is divided between staff of the Seal center and volunteers and together the group counts seals in the area. The coastline is divided into smaller areas (2-7km), so everyone can find a suitable distance. Afterwards you get a coffee and a cake at the Seal Center.

 It is a great experience! Please register by e-mailing us: info@selasetur.is  or dial  +354-451-2345.

The Great Seal Count is not suitable for children younger than 5 and kids between 5 and 15 years may only take part in the company of adults.

 

Visit from Ásgarður Kindergarten

We got a pleasant visit from the students at Ásgarður kindergarten today. The kids stopped by on their walk in town and by the harbour. We are always happy to get visits from kids. 

Come back soon kids 🙂

Grant from the Ministry of Industries and Innovation

The Seal Center has been given a grant from the Ministry of Industries and Innovation for counting of harbour seal from air summer of 2014. The Seal Center applied for just over 20 million IKR for the project but got only 6 million. Therefore the method of counting has to be reevaluated and it will not be possible to do it the same way it was done in 2011. In some areas we will also test counting with an unmanned aerial vehicle to evaluate if UAV’s can be used for estimated the harbourseal population in the future.

Project manager is Sandra Granquist head of biology reasearch department and co project manager is Erlingur Hauksson marine biologist.