Field research into behaviour of seals

With the research we conduct in the field, we study and analyse the behaviour of seal mothers and pups in the wild. An example of this is our ongoing research in the Dollard area. On this page you learn everything about studying seals in the wild.

Laatst geupdate op 16-01-2023
  • Field research
  • Wetenschappers bij kijkmuur Dollard
  • Camera door observatiemuur - veldonderzoek
  • Veldonderzoek - zeehonden door kijkmuur observeren

Working with the tides

The work our research team does is dependent on the tides. The observation hours are determined, so to speak, by high tide and low tide. Our researchers are present at the observation wall four hours before high tide. At low tide, seals rest on dry sandbanks in the sea, but when the tide comes in, they move to the shore. During high tide, the seals are best seen up close. Three hours after high tide, they finish observing. They study the seals' behaviour during this time.

Research equipment

Do you know what all the research team needs? The team carries various materials to make the investigation run smoothly. For example::

  • Cameras for the photo identification of seals
  • Lenses
  • Batteries and SD cards
  • Tripods on which the cameras can be placed
  • Field notepad and pens
  • Tides time table and weather forecast
  • A lot of patience

    They also take materials that can be useful when a seal needs to be taken care of after observation. The seal is then taken in a large basket. Below are the materials that are needed for a seal rescue:

    • Towels
    • Scrubs and overals
    • Jar, funnel, tubes, water, ORS
    • A scale
    • Blue spray to mark the pups (in the rest of the province Groningen the colour orange is used)
    • Plastic bags for rubbish
    • Gloves, masks and blue shoes

    Wrap-up observation day

    At the end of the day, the team returns to the Sealcentre to officially close the observation day. The collected data are transferred to a hard disk. All important events such as births, marked animals or pickups are written down in the notebook. Lastly, an update is given to the rest of the team.

    Report a seal. Seen a seal in need? Call 144 (24 hours a day available) Read more.