Using Satellite Tags to Track Released Animals
Our Marine Animal Rescue Program has tended to thousands of stranded, injured or sick marine animals since 1968. While we have always ensured that our rehabilitated animals were in top health prior to their release, there was no way to confirm their continued health once they disappeared into the ocean. In order to answer this question, we have now begun to attach satellite tags to some of our rescued and rehabilitated animals.
By using GIS technology to map the satellite tag data, we are able to confirm that the released individual is thriving, calculate its home range and determine its speed and distance of travel. As a result, we know that our rehabilitation program is a success because the released animals continue to thrive in the wild. We also compare this data to the local bathymetry, sea surface temperatures and chlorophyll-a concentrations, which helps us better understand how these animals use their habitats.
Learn more about some of our released animals:
Named by the young girl who found her, Stephanie arrived at the Aquarium sick, dehydrated and approximately 150 pounds underweight. After eight months, Stephanie was healthy enough to be released. Stephanie was the first rehabilitated seal we fitted with a satellite tag. Learn more.
Artie was near death when he arrived at the Aquarium on St. Patrick’s Day, 2004. It took nearly seven months of rehabilitation before he was healthy enough to be released. Learn more.
Hypothermic, dehydrated and covered in algae, this sea turtle was in bad shape when it arrived at the Aquarium in November, 2004. After nearly a year of rehabilitation, Quiddick was fitted with a satellite tag and released from Martha’s Vineyard. Learn more.
Orphaned at a young age, Quid would not have survived if he hadn’t been rescued by the Aquarium. After a few months, Quid was ready to survive on his own, and was released with a satellite tag attached to his back. Learn more.
During the summer of 2006, seven white-sided dolphins stranded on a Cape Cod beach. All of the animals were successfully returned to the ocean, and three were fitted with satellite tags. Learn more.