I have vivid memories of a photograph showing the slaughter of a baby seal on the front pages of the national newsapapers over twenty years ago, I am distressed to realize that the hunters have returned with a vengence again. I hope that my short story can somehow help to stop this.- Culling of baby seals will happen soon-
(Her name means –belonging to God)
The night was calm and luminous, and the sea was satin smooth as Una followed her instincts of an ancient call to swim south to keep her first date with destiny to the region where all the seals would gather. With a supple grace she glides through grottoes of ice until she tires, and then she lies idly for a while on her shelf of ice, rested once more she slides off and dives deep into the caverns of the night.
The main breeding grounds are crowded with jostling seals. The males grunt and squeal, they bark gutturally. A high pitched eerie trill rises in intensity, and then trails off like a distant echo cutting through the noise of all the other seals. The males are extremely excited now, they splash and rush through the lead, the channels of broken ice, and they threaten and bite each other.
Una arrives at the mating grounds to begin her courtship ritual. The voices lure and repel her; she swims beneath the ice from pool to pool, tense and undecided what to do. At last she joins the males, and instantly there is a mass eruption as a whole group of eager males rush to greet her. Alarmed Una turns and threatens them, they retreat abashed, and she flees with a dozen males in pursuit of her. They turn upon each other in jealous anger, biting and scratching and then resuming their wild race beneath the ice under the sea.
Una surfaces in a pool with her throng of suitors surging up behind her. Rebuffing them they fight, at last one male who is stronger faster and more persistent than the rest follows her, and they surface in a large pool among the floes. Una slides onto the ice and turns to watch the male. He knows that she is his, so he begins to woo her with passion speed and exuberance
. He swims on his back, then somersaults, splashes and thrashes in joyous excitement at being the chosen one. Una dips her head into the water to watch him, and he no longer chases her, they swim softly together touching frequently in a sensuous ballet dance of desire. He then holds her neck and clasps her flippers, and they mate in the waters at the edge of the floe. Once their dance of love is over he leaves Una who will search through a world of crystal caverns to find herself a place of safety to defend and rear her baby pup upon. Una knows that it must not be born at sea or it will die of the cold. Finally she finds an evervesant nest to cradle her firstborn on; she scrapes a hole through the thick ice to make a doorway to the sea while she waits for the birth of her pup.
February comes and goes and one sunny day in March Nyka was born, who eagerly nuzzled between her mothers fur. Drops of creamy milk dribble from the corners of her dark furry muzzle, finally full, Nyka rolls on her back, scratches a bit, wriggles, and then finally content she falls asleep snuggling in the warmth of Una’s love. Nyka nurses frequently and grows fat as Una becomes thinner. At ten days old Una knows that her initial worry is over, she knows that Nyka will be able to survive if anything should happen to her, and her pup was left alone. On the twelfth day at dawn the suns rays glisten across the field of ice and life feels good for Una and Nyka, although Una is aware of some strange sounds approaching that crackle and reverberate along the ice. Alarm begins to spread as the noises grow loader and closer. Una frets in alarm as she hears screams and the sounds of fear all around. Horrible dark shadows rush aggressively towards her, in panic Una slips through her door to the sea. Nyka waits and cries pitifully for the return of her mother. A dark shadow crosses the ice towards her, uncertain she waddles with curiosity towards the first human that she has ever seen, his shape is reflected in the warm brown pools of her eyes. This is the last image on earth that she will ever see as swiftly her thin skull is clubbed and crushed, and then with quick deft strokes of a long bladed razor sharp knife her skin is ripped open and her baby blubber cut through, her heart beats frantically for a few seconds in a body that no longer has a coat. In sixty seconds the hunter has left their devastated cradle. Una crawls back onto the ice to check her baby again; Nyka is dead, in a field of ice and blood. Tears flow from Una’s eyes, her heart breaks with sadness as she lies at the side of her mutilated baby pup.