Amy has already introduced you to some of the male seals at our study site so, since I am the only person studying females this year, it has fallen to me to introduce the females. First up is RA1 or “Bullseye”, so-called because she appears to have a target on her side. Distinctive markings such as this are extremely useful to us for identification purposes, with a stretch of the imagination all manner of images can be seen in the pattern of a seals’ fur, from letters and numbers, to faces, snakes and fish. Bullseye was one of the first females I came across when I started here and, unlike most others, she has stuck around and is still in exactly the same place I found her almost two weeks ago. Since her pup is fattening up fast and will soon be weaned I don’t expect her to be around for much longer but thanks to her unique marks I’ll know it’s her should I ever see her again.
Finally we have “lucky number seven” who spends most of her time in the long grass or behind the dunes well out of the way of those pesky researchers and their cameras!