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22 November, 2000

FYI answer for 11/21/00

The Weddell Seal is named after James Weddell, a Navy Master, who in 1823, became the first to sail further south than any man before him and discover the Weddell Sea, named after him. He captured six specimens of the seals he himself called sea-leopards, but now also bear his name.

The sun was shining and the skies were blue, then I stepped out the door of my hut and was hit with the wind and chill. I was reminded once again that I'm not in Nebraska anymore. The two layers that I dressed in just for the morning would not be enough, so I went back in to put on a third layer. To dress for a typical day of work here, you first need to have some idea of what is going to be happening. It was a census day again and we also had two instrument attachments and one detachment. We were to have a long day if all went well. The three underlayers consist mostly of the silk or lightweight long underwear garments. Then there snow pants, think 'bunny' boots and a light jacket with the big parka over that. Layers on the head and face are important too. It keeps the heat in and protects from sun and wind burn.

I needed all those layers today even though it was very sunny. The wind howled at about 30 miles per hour. The windchill was -10 on the good side of things. We walked around and took census at Big Razorback and then drove our snowmobiles to Turks Head. We got there and took census of the animals. We also located two females that we anticipated instrumenting. After we captured the first female and the wind-swept snow kept making every task more and more difficult, we decided it couldn't be done here or at all. We came back to Big Razorback and successfully detached instruments from two days ago and attached the other instrumenet.

I am doing more than just helpng to hold the animalsand write information down too. I am now helping to dispense the anesthesia. Katsu has also been asking me to help set up the correct information registered in the computer data loggers before they are used on the seals. I have now helped bag and catch two female seals.

There is also the sad but realistic fact that in dealing with animals in their natural setting the neat stuff you see comes with the devastating stuff. We found a female mother seal who had died in the night. There was a pup seal still with her. It will be hard to know what will happen to the pup. There are females who seem to 'adopt' other pups, and we can only hope that this happens. As for the mother, we're not sure of what happened. Life will go on.


The best known ____________ of the southern seals is the ________________ seals. While sunning themselves on the___________, they are sleepy, inoffensive creatures, snoozing companionably in clubs of up to a_____________. In the _______________ they are lively and alert.

You can still play frisbee in Antarctica.

Baby Weddell seal, just keeping out of the wind

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