Blog: Punta San Juan (Peru)

Citizen Science

Monitoring the populations of species that call Punta San Juan home is necessary to check on the health of the marine-costal ecosystem.  One of the ways we monitor these species is by tagging individual animals our conservationists and veterinarians contact.  These tags come in many different forms, but all serve one main purpose: tracking the population of animals calling these waters and shore their home.


Fur seals and Sea lions that we have made contact with will wear one of two different types of monitoring devices: tags or Global Positioning Systems (GPS).  The tags are made from a durable yellow or white plastic and are painlessly and humanely attached to the animal’s flipper.  There are three different flipper tag designs, but they all serve the same purpose: identification.  These tags essentially become the individual animal’s name, making it easier for our scientists to recognize and record the animal’s age, health, and amount of times seen by our experts.  The GPS units will be attached to their heads or backs.  These units help us monitor how far the animals travel from Punta San Juan’s cost along with recording data on the animals speed and depth they dive, but are nonpermanent and may fall off the animal. 


Humboldt penguins have four different monitoring devices that may be attached to them, but they all serve similar purposes to the seal and sea lion’s devices.   Penguins may be banded on a flipper or tagged on their toe through the webbing on their feet.  As with the sea lions and seal tags, these are painlessly and humanely placed on the penguin and are used for identification purposes.  We are fortunate enough to have two different global positioning devices available to fit a penguin with.  We are able to place large GPS units to the backs of penguins for temporary data collection on distance, length of time swimming, speed, and depth achieved by an individual penguin, but for longer studies the residents are fitted with Global Location Sensing (GLS) device around the foot.  These bands can be worn for an extended period of time allowing our scientists to track the penguins over a longer distance, depth, and time.

You can also help us monitor the costal populations of animals.  If you are fortunate enough to spot one of our animals, you can become a citizen scientist and report your sighting and findings! Our program website has a page where you can record your sighting and note any information about the animal including where you spotted it and what kind of health condition the animal appeared to be in.  These sightings help us achieve a greater understanding of the animal’s habits and habitats.  Log your sighting, we and the animals thank you!

Posted: 3/24/2017 4:43:23 PM by

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Punta San Juan

Read about updates to the Chicago Zoologicial Society's connection to conservation efforts in Peru at the Punta San Juan reserve!


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