PHOTOS: Satellite Images Show Little Gull Island Packed with Seals

Island will soon go to the highest bidder.

While the late-Friday bidding suggests a cooperative of nonprofits will fall short in their quest to buy Little Gull Island, three are likely a host of wild animals who will still get to call the island home.

In addition to supporting flocks of nesting terns, the small island located off of the coast of Plum Island is also acts as a nursery for grey seal populations, according to environmental org, photographers and even satellite imagery.

In fact, the satellite image in Google Maps shows the island packed with seals, and Google dates the image as taken in 2012. The satellite images on MapQuest, however, as well as Bing, seem to show none of these aquatic mammals.

A website post from the Coastal Reasearch and Education Society of Long Island claims the seal rookery was discovered in 2006, and before that it was thought that the closest rookery was in the Nantucket Sound. But shortly after the publication of this artcile, Dr. Arthur Kopelman, a population ecologist and President of the Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island, said that the presence of a grey seal rookery around Little Gull Island is "yet to be confirmed."

There are a host of photos and videos online showing seals at the location.

Susan Tamulevich October 12, 2012 at 10:30 PM
We fear the high bidders may be intending to lease Little Gull to stage wave-energy testing in the Race. The island's fragile habitat--which impacts that of Great Gull and Plum Islands-- cannot sustain such activity. Please contact your elected officials and let them know: the GSA need not accept the highest bid, they can choose the bid most in line with the goals of the national Lighthouse Protection act. The coalition offers $150,000 plus their stewardship of the lighthouse and island habitat. That is a reasonable bid and one the GSA should accept.
Susan Tamulevich October 12, 2012 at 11:10 PM
The Federal Government is touting the potential for tidal energy production, using underwater turbines. Thirty of these turbines are planned for New York City's East River by 2015, and a New York-based company is exploring an area of Eastern Long Island Sound known as "The Race" for a possible turbine site. http://www.yourpublicmedia.org/content/wnpr/tidal-energy-production-begins-maine-may-come-long-island-sound
Arthur Kopelman October 13, 2012 at 09:41 AM
What I wrote on the CRESLI site is that we believe that Little Gull Island is a rookerie for grey seals (not harbor seals). As others have noted, "the jury is still out" regarding confirmation of the rookerie. While I am convinced that the island holds a rookerie, it still needs further study. Dr. Artie Kopelman - CRESLI President
Arthur Kopelman October 13, 2012 at 09:45 AM
I just looked again at the CRESLI grey seal page and will edit it to reflect that the status of the rookery is yet to be confirmed.
Erin Schultz October 13, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Thanks for the information, Dr. Kopelman - we've made the changes in the article.


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