Saimaa seal population climbs to nearly 400

The population of the endangered Saimaa ringed seal has risen to 392 individuals in Finland, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. An estimated 86 seal pups were born this year, a figure that experts say bodes well for the species.

In 2017 a total of 286 snow dens were built by volunteers, and 74 seal pups were eventually born in some of them. The figure for the whole of 2014-2017 is 190 pups born in close to 800 artificial snow banks. Just over half of all Saimaa ringed real pups born in this period entered the world in a den constructed by humans.

There are 13 breeding areas in the country, located mainly in the national parks of Kolovesi and Linnansaari in south-east Finland. The most seals were found in the breeding grounds of Pihlajavesi, where 124 were counted.

The Ministry of Agriculture credits volunteer helpers for the positive growth. Since 2014 people have gathered together to shovel snow into larger snowdrifts on rocks and shorelines, so the seals can burrow birthing dens into them.

Climate change has depleting the seals' natural winter habitats as the warmer winters have limited snow and ice cover. For decades, dozens of seals also died each year in area fishing nets.

After a strong public information campaign, the Ministry of Agriculture reports that the number of Saimaa seals killed by fishing is now in decline. It estimates the current size of the species' territory at some 2,700 square kilometres.

A endemic subspecies on the rebound

The Saimaa ringed seal is unique to Finland's Saimaa lake system, where the species was isolated by the last ice age some 9,500 years ago.

The population fell to between 100 and 150 seals in 1983. The fact that the 2018 count has estimated a population close to 400 is significant, as this has long been seen as a benchmark for avoiding the threat of the endemic species' extinction.

The number of seals in the 2018 count was determined through breeding analysis and observations of individuals resting on lake ice.

This year's tally found 109 birthing Saimaa ringed seal females, as opposed to 83 in 2012, and only 77 in 2007.

Read more news of Helsinki on our site.

yle.fi
Saimaa seal population climbs
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
2 views in november
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Society
Alexander Stubb (NCP), a vice-president at the European Investment Bank (EIB), has hinted at the possibility of returning to politics after losing the race to become the lead candidate of the European People’s Party (EPP) to Manfred Weber of Germany. Stubb received more votes than expected but lost to his rival candidate by a clear vote of 127 to 492 at EPP Congress Helsinki on Thursday. “I got a very good feeling [from the campaign], I must admit,” the fo...
Politics
The Finnish government will introduce no amendments to legislation on patient data during this electoral term, assures Annika Saarikko, the Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services. Saarikko and Kai Mykkänen (NCP), the Minister of the Interior, have participated actively in public debate concerning a legislative proposal that, according to Helsingin Sanomat, has been drafted in secrecy and would grant police significantly wider access to sensitive pa...
Society
School groups could in the future use public transport services in the Helsinki region free of charge when travelling with a teacher, according to a decision made by the Executive Board of Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) on 30 October 2018. The final decision on transport charges, including tickets for school groups, will be made by the HSL General Meeting on 27 November.  From the beginning of 2019 onwards, municipal school administrations would no longer...
Society
Finland has dropped to eighth in the world in the latest version of a ranking of countries according to their English language skills. Finns are now the worst English-speakers in the Nordic countries, according to the EF English Proficiency Index. The 2018 version of the ranking puts Finland in eighth spot, with western neighbour Sweden topping the comparison. This year’s result is the weakest Finland has achieved in the ranking, which has been published e...
Society
The theme of next month's Independence Day ball at Helsinki's Presidential Palace will be climate change and environmental issues. The theme of this year's Independence Day reception will be climate change and the environment, according to the Office of the President of the Republic. Finland's most exclusive social occasion is just one month away, and the Office of the President has started sending invitations to some 1,700 guests for an evening that tradi...
Society
The day's papers report on unsolved thefts, free head lice medicine for families and Angela Merkel's visit to Helsinki. Daily Helsingin Sanomat reports that most larcenies go unsolved in Finland. According to statistics by the Police University College, police were able to clear 3,150 offences between January and September of this year, while about 41,500 remain unsolved. In 80 smaller municipalities, especially in Lapland and Åland, the police did not sol...
Society
Finland's Tax Administration reports that 15,000 more eligible taxpayers declared no taxable income in the last two years, putting the total past 160,000 in 2017. https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/steady_increase_in_declarations_of_no_taxable_income/10492154 The number of eligible taxpayers who reported no taxable income in Finland has risen by 15,000 in the last two years to a total of 161,000 in 2017. "Most of the people declaring no taxable income are...
Society
Women in their 60s move more than men of the same age when it comes to occupational and leisure-time physical activities, according to a new study from the University of Turku in southwest Finland. "Gender differences during the workday are partially explained by the varying work patterns and the physical activity associated with women having longer commutes to work. Women of this generation also tend to do more housework than men, and measuring devices wo...
Society
Opponents of Britain's withdrawal from the EU are calling more loudly for another referendum on Brexit. Seven of Finland's 13 MEPs think a second vote is likely. Over half of Finland's 13 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) say they believe that a second British referendum on Brexit will become a reality. The National Coalition Party's Sirpa Pietikäinen, Henna Virkkunen, Petri Sarvamaa, the Centre Party's Elsi Katainen, the Greens' Heidi Hautala, the...