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Harp Seals Declining Due to Climate Change

Harp Seals Declining Due to Climate Change

Researchers at Duke University who are studying loss of sea ice in the North Atlantic and harp seals have found a dramatic drop in harp seal pups. They say a decline in sea ice, where harp seals live and breed is causing the loss of entire generations of new harp seal pups.

The Northeast Atlantic stock of harp seals which breeds off the coast of Greenland has declined by 85-90% in the last 40-60 years. One of the main for the dramatic drop is a decline in a sea ice in the breeding habitats for harp seals since 1979. Sea-ice cover is declining at a rate of about six per cent per decade in all four harp seal breeding grounds, the researchers found.

Overall harp seals are in a stable enough population size with about three million to five million, but if their sea ice continues to decline, they might be faced with a dire situation. Consider also at the same time sea ice is being lost, harp seals are hunted commercially each year by Canada, Norway, Russia and Greenland.

“Harp seals aren’t endangered right now, so we’re not worried they’re going to disappear off the face of the earth . . . but we’re all concerned about what’s happening with climate change, so it’s important to try and anticipate what’s in store for these animals over time,” said David Johnston one of the Duke researchers. (Source: Vancouver Sun)

They also say they need to conduct further research to bring more clarity to the various causes of harp seal mortality and harp seal pup losses.

If you are concerned about climate change, you might want to know livestock agriculture is one of the main human-related contributors to the very damaging phenomenon, meaning reducing one’s meat consumption can also help to reduce climate change emissions.

Image Credit: Matthieu Godbout


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7:47PM PST on Jan 8, 2014

Very Sad :(

11:28AM PDT on Jun 14, 2012

the people clubbing them to death has nothing to do with it?

3:54AM PDT on Apr 29, 2012

this is sooo sad...

4:04PM PDT on Mar 12, 2012

Perhaps they are better off not being born, that way they don't get battered, skinned alive, and otherwise tortured and murdered by the cretins who work for the fur industry. Poor little creatures, life has never been fair to them.

1:52PM PST on Mar 5, 2012

The poor seals can never get a break can they?

3:13AM PST on Mar 2, 2012

What about CANADA that murder these seals every year?????????????These beautifull creatures should be protected from these evil bastards that hunt and murder them. There is always a lot of talk about climate changes and animals in decline but is there anything being done NO.

12:13AM PST on Jan 25, 2012

There's a lot more education to do. Millions of people and millions of animals are affected, our oceans are no longer healthy and our air is polluted (yes, even if you can't see it).
Educating children about climate change is our only hope..

5:49AM PST on Jan 20, 2012

sign the petition on care2:

5:38PM PST on Jan 10, 2012

Well they are better off dying from climate change than being bashed in the heads for their skin

3:31AM PST on Jan 10, 2012

sad news, thanks for sharing

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