Become a citizen scientist today with SealSpotter

Australian fur seals play an important role in Australia's marine ecosystems. There are around 20,000 seals at Seal Rocks (off Phillip Island) and 10,000 at The Skerries (near Mallacoota). But there is still so much we need to learn to better understand them, and anyone with passion for nature can get involved!  To better understand them, we need your help.

What research is being conducted and how do I get involved?

Every breeding season our research team conducts cutting-edge conservation research using RPA (a.k.a 'drone'). They fly the drone over the seal colonies at Seal Rocks and at The Skerries, taking photos for the purposes of monitoring the population size and pup numbers, this allows them to monitor the sites regularly and detect any population changes quickly (such as a drop in pup numbers, or more seals being entangled in marine plastic).

However, this means there are thousands of seal photos that need counting, and that's where you come in!

Help us by taking on the role of Citizen Scientist this June and completing the Seal Spotter Challenge. No experience or expertise needed!

What is the Seal Spotter Challenge?

The Seal Spotter Challenge allows anyone with a computer and love for our planet to contribute to the management and protection of our oceans by counting seals in images captured with an RPA (a.k.a 'drone'). This allows Phillip Island Nature Parks scientists to analyse the population and marine debris entanglement data faster and more accurately, leading to a greater understanding of the seals’ world and the threats they face.

By helping us collect data, you will be helping us in our conservation efforts and will be directly contributing to future educational programs and management initiatives, and, ultimately, to entanglement reduction.

Plus, participants will go into the draw to win  an Australian fur seal adoption through our Penguin Foundation!*

This year’s Seal Spotter Challenges commences on 8 June and concludes on 22 June 2022.

How does Seal Spotter Challenge work?

Log in to the SealSpotter Challenge portal between 8 June and 22 June and start counting!

Don’t be afraid of making a mistake - your contribution will be cross checked with the overall results. The final assessment will be made by our research team to ensure a reliable outcome.

  SealSpotter Portal

Still have questions?

Please join our Facebook Live Q&A session with scientists Dr. Rebecca McIntosh and Ross Holmberg held on Tuesday, 14 June 2022, at 7pm to get your questions answered. 

SealSpotter News Updates

Subscribe here to select more Nature Parks news of interest? Subscribe today.

Don't forget to share your seal spotting photos with us on social media by using #sealspotter and tagging @phillipislandnp.


SealSpotter sponsors:

telematics trust  Penguin Foundation rgb2


*Terms and Conditions

1. Competition is open to all eligible entries between 8 – 22 June 2022 to all eligible participants.

2. Participants under the age of 18 years must seek parent’s or legal guardian’s permission to enter. 

3. The randomised draw will take place, in the presence of an independent witness at 11:00 AM AEST on 29 June 2022 at Phillip Island Nature Parks, 1/154 Thompson Ave, Cowes, Victoria, Australia.

4 There will be one Winner chosen in this Competition. The Winners will be notified in writing on 30 June 2022. The notification will include instructions as to how the Winner are to claim the prize and establish their entitlement to the Prize. The name of the Winner will be published on the Promoter’s website ( approximately three days after the Winner is selected by the Phillip Island Nature Parks and will remain on its website for a period of not less than twenty-eight days.

All other terms and conditions of Penguin Foundation apply.

 And the winner of this year's Seal Spotter Challenge is Luke F. from Tasmania, Australia. Contratulations!