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In conjunction with the Manx Wildlife Trust’s seal catalog, manxsmc will be collecting photographic identification of the grey and common seal populations around the Isle of Man. This will enable us to establish any regular movement patterns, site fidelity, social groups and to estimate population numbers.
Our identification pictures will be standardised, only the head and neck of a seal with a wet pelage will be taken when the seal is facing parallel to the camera. This is because any contortions of the neck or head can cause their markings to be displayed very differently. As much of the neck as possible will be photographed to provide full exposure of pelage patterns to match from.
These pictures provide an example of what are good and bad identification pictures:
Other variables such as location, time, date, whether they are near a known haul site, other seals present and the weather will also be recorded to allow for statistical testing to establish any significant results.