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Seal Surveyor & Data Analyst: Calf of Man Seal Surveys

Volunteer Seal Surveyor © Pashala Yates

Location: Calf of Man

Opportunity type: Surveying

For 6 weeks every Autumn Manx Wildlife Trust conducts seal surveys on the Calf of Man to monitor breeding populations. We need volunteers to help us collect important data and are looking for individuals who are comfortable walking up to four miles a day and have Photo-ID experience.

Date published: 17 August 2017

Background to role

For 6 weeks every Autumn Manx Wildlife Trust carries out seal surveys on the Calf of Man to monitor the birth of seal pups, obtain photographic ID records of adult seals and observe behaviour of the seals.

Seals are an important apex predator and they can be an indicator to the health of our marine environment and hence the need to monitor them.

Role Description

As a volunteer surveyor, you will record the number of seal pup births, take photographs of pup and adult seals, follow the pups through their developmental stages and process the photographs to enable us to identify the adults.

This is a great opportunity to put skills to use for the benefit for Manx wildlife.

Location and Ideal Commitment

The role will be based at the Calf of Man Bird Observatory for 6 weeks and then 2 weeks on the Isle of Man. The commitment required is for 6 weeks on the Calf and a further 2 weeks finishing off the data analysis. Availability needs to be flexible, as the boat trips on/off the Calf of Man are very weather dependent. Shorter periods would be considered based on experience.

Key Tasks 

Tasks may include:

  • Daily visits to pupping sights to count the number of births
  • Photographing each pup with its mother
  • Recording the developmental stage of the seal pup
  • Behavioural observations of seals

Experience and Skills

Ideally experience in photo ID of seals would be preferable but training can be provided. Applicants must be comfortable walking 4 miles a day on variable terrain.

Working experience of the following would be ideal:

  • Photo-Identification of wildlife, ideally seals
  • Knowledge of photography, particularly aperture and shutter speed settings on a professional camera.
  • Behaviour of animals

What we can offer is a professional, friendly and inclusive environment to put your skills to great use protecting Manx wildlife. This is a great opportunity to get to explore the beautiful environment of the Calf of Man, gain valuable experience in photographic-identification and observe and learn about wildlife from a safe distance.


There is some financial support for this role.

  • £100 towards travel expenses to the Isle of Man.
  • Travel on Island will be covered.
  • Accommodation will be provided on the Calf of Man and on the Isle of Man for last 2 weeks collating the data.
  • A £30 per week food allowance will also be provided.


Initial enquires and questions about the role can be sent to Marine Officer, Lara Howe at

Contact details:

Please send in your interest and application, stating how you meet the role specification by email, to Please use “Seal surveys on the Calf of Man” in your email subject line. 


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