Elephant Seal Sightings, Macquarie Island
At Macquarie Island 1000 seals were weighed per annum between 1993-2003 at birth and individually marked with two plastic flipper tags in the inter-digital webbing of their hind flippers. These tagged seals were weighed again at weaning, when length, girth, fat depth, and flipper measurements were made. Three weeks after weaning 2000 seals were permanently and individually marked by hot-iron branding. Recaptures and re-weigings of these known aged individuals were used to calculate growth and age-specific survival of the seals. Similar data were collected from elephant seals between 1950 and 1965 when seals were individually marked by hot-iron branding. Mark-recapture data from these cohorts were used to assess the demography of the declining population. Length and mass data were also collected for these cohorts and were used, for the first time, to assess the growth of individual seals without killing them.