An official website of the United States government
facebook icon facebook icon

US Navy


Marine Species Monitoring

Seal Tagged in 2022 is Back Again!

Posted on February 14, 2024

On 10 February 2024, a local wildlife enthusiast, Caroline Prevost, was out on the Chesapeake Bay when she observed some harbor seals enjoying time in the water near island 4 of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. One seal in particular caught her eye due to the yellow tag attached to its left hind flipper. Our team at NAVFAC Atlantic quickly took interest in the photo to determine if this was a seal that was tagged during our previous pinniped tagging and tracking efforts. Turns out, it was a match!

 Seal flippers with tag

Seal hind flippers with tag visible

This male seal was tagged by our research team on 15 February 2022, almost two years to date! The flipper tag was originally orange but has faded to yellow over time. He had also been fitted with a satellite tag to obtain GPS locations, which remained active till May 2022, and would have fallen off when he molted his fur in summer of that year. He traveled from here in Virginia, all the way up to coastal Maine by the end of May that year.

 seal in water with tag

Harbor Seal in water with tag visible

The tagging efforts came to an end in 2023, but it is always rewarding to see our tagged friends coming back to visit us year after year. Because of these excellent photos of the seal in the water with his markings visible, we were able to compare this seal to our larger harbor seal photo ID catalog and found out he was also seen on 12/2/2022 and 12/14/2022 on the Eastern Shore of Virginia prior to the tagging study. He was also resighted at the same island of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel in 2/2/2023. The seal was dry during tagging, so the marks of his fur were not clearly visible, and therefore was not able to be compared to the catalog prior to now.

 seal on back in water

Seal swimming on its back with head out of the water

For more information on this project, see the project profile for Pinniped Tagging and Tracking in Southeast Virginia and  Haul-Out Counts and Photo-Identification of Pinnipeds in Virginia.

All photos were provided by Photography by Caroline Prevost.  |  |  Navy FOIA  |  DoD Accessibility/Section 508  |  No Fear Act  |  Open Government  |  Plain Writing Act  |  Veterans Crisis Line  |  DoD Safe Helpline  |  Navy SAPR  |  NCIS Tips  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Webmaster  
|  Administrator Login
Official U.S. Navy Website