Fri, Jul 13, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Scientists to strap cameras to Hawaiian seals
科學家要在夏威夷海豹身上綁攝影機

Two seals lie in the Hagenbeck Zoo in Hamburg, Germany on June 20.
兩隻海豹六月二十日躺在德國漢堡的哈根貝克動物園內。

Photo: AFP
照片:法新社

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.

(AP)

夏威夷僧海豹需要來個形象大改造。

部分漁民抱怨這種瀕臨絕種的海豹偷了他們的漁獲。沒有根據的謠言說海豹吃掉並耗竭魚類資源。而且,從去年年底以來,至少有四隻海豹在夏威夷被人類撲殺。

為了釐清誤解,政府的科學家計畫將可潛入水中的攝影機,黏在海豹的背上,利用影像向漁民證明海豹並沒有破壞他們的生活方式。所拍得的影像,甚至可能變成實境秀。

國家地理學會提供的「動物相機」,是保護海豹數量的最新策略,在太平洋靠近夏威夷的海域,海豹數量已減少至僅剩一千一百隻。對未來五十年至一百年可能消失的物種而言,殺戮是沉重打擊。

今年八月開始,生物學家會抓來幾隻海豹,注射鎮定劑後以環氧樹脂將攝影機黏在海豹身上,希望影像能證明幾項臆測是錯的。

TODAY’S WORDS 今日單字

1. makeover n.

改造 (gai3 zao4)

例: The kitchen is long overdue for a makeover.

(廚房早該來個大改造。)

2. unfounded adj.

無根據的 (wu2 gen1 ju4 de5)

例: Your accusation is quite unfounded.

(你的指控毫無根據。)

3. misconception n.

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

例: Public misconceptions about AIDS remain high.

(一般大眾對愛滋病的錯誤認知仍高。)


科學家第一次使用攝影機來研究夏威夷僧海豹時,大多數的科學家以為海豹是在珊瑚礁群中覓食,但動物攝影機則顯示海豹游到貧瘠的沙地,下潛到海底,將石頭翻開,吃掉在石頭底下發現的魚或鰻。

國家地理學會遠端影像研究室主任凱勒‧阿伯納西表示:「實際看看動物做了什麼,而不只是臆測,非常有用。」

(美聯社/翻譯:陳維真)

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