Skip to main content

Philopatry in seals

Philopatry means that an animal stays with a certain area or returns to it. In the study of Sealcentre Pieterburen about this topic, we examine birth philopatry. This means that the seal would return to their birthplace to breed.

Laatst geupdate op 16-01-2023

Research on birth philopatry

Our research team studies whether pups from the previous season return to the Dollard to breed and whether this also happens every year. Each seal pup is identified at birth. We do this with the photos we take every year of every seal that comes on the beach, so we can see if they have returned. This method is called photo identification.

Disturbance impacts the results

We also look at several factors that may influence this result. If a seal is severely disturbed several times by noise or dogs running loose, it may become stressed and remember that the place is not safe and therefore won’t return. This is also the reason why our research team does its research from a distance, behind a wall with holes in it. The seals do not see us.