Rates of increase in gray seal (Halichoerus grypus atlantica) pupping at recolonized sites in the United States, 1988-2019

Stephanie A. Wood, Kimberly T. Murray, Elizabeth Josephson, James Gilbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Gray seals were historically distributed along the northeastern coast of the United States, but bounties and lack of protection reduced numbers and they were rarely observed for most of the 20th century. Once protections were enacted, the population started to rebound. Here, we describe the recolonization and recovery of gray seals in the United States, focusing on the re-establishment of pupping sites. We fit individual generalized linear models to various time series (1988-2019) to estimate rates of increase in observed pup counts at four of the more data-rich sites. Annual rate of increase at individual sites ranged from -0.2% (95% CI: -2.3-1.9%) to 26.3% (95% CI: 21.6-31.4%). The increase in sites and number of pups born in the United States is driven by population growth and immigration from Canadian colonies and is part of a larger recovery of the Northwest Atlantic population. Wildlife protection, a healthy source population, habitat availability, and species traits that allow for dispersal and high productivity were all important factors in this recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-128
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Mammalogy
Volume101
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 21 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Halichoerus grypus
  • conservation
  • generalized linear models
  • population recovery
  • rates of increase
  • recolonization

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