Fri, Jul 13, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Scientists to strap cameras to Hawaiian seals

Two seals lie in the Hagenbeck Zoo in Hamburg, Germany on June 20.

Photo: AFP

Hawaiian monk seals need an image makeover.

Some fishermen blame the endangered species for stealing their catch. There are unfounded rumors that they devour and deplete fish stocks. At least four of them have been killed by humans in Hawaii since late last year.

To help correct the misconceptions, government scientists plan to glue submersible cameras onto the seals’ backs, using the footage to prove to fishermen the animals are not harming their way of life. It may even end up on reality TV.

The “Crittercams,” provided by the National Geographic Society, are the latest tactic to protect a population that is down to just 1,100 in Pacific Ocean waters around Hawaii. The killings were painful blows to a species on course to disappear in 50 to 100 years.

Starting this August, biologists will capture several seals, sedate them and use epoxy to attach the cameras to their hides. They hope the footage will prove several assumptions untrue.

When scientists first used the cameras to study Hawaiian monk seals, most believed the animals fed among coral reefs. But Crittercams showed them swimming to barren sandy areas, diving to the ocean floor, flipping over rocks and eating fish and eels found underneath.

“Seeing what the animals really did rather than guessing about it was incredibly useful,” said Kyler Abernathy, the National Geographic Society’s remote imaging director of research.








1. makeover n.

改造 (gai3 zao4)

例: The kitchen is long overdue for a makeover.


2. unfounded adj.

無根據的 (wu2 gen1 ju4 de5)

例: Your accusation is quite unfounded.


3. misconception n.

誤解;錯誤認知 (wu4 jie3; cuo4 wu4 ren4 zhi1)

例: Public misconceptions about AIDS remain high.





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