keskiviikko 17. syyskuuta 2014
Lake Saimaa is home to one of the most endangered species of seals in
the world: the Saimaa ringed seal. 8000 years ago, when Saimaa was
still connected to the Baltic Sea, a small population on ringed seals
moved into the lake and got stuck there as the land rose and sealed
them off. They have evolved to live in fresh water, and they look
different from the other ringed seal species.
The Saimaa ringed seal is usually 130-145 cm in length and weighs 50-90 kg.
It has a dark grey fur with a light ringed pattern that is unique in
every animal. Its pups are also greyish. They mainly eat fish.
The seal has its pups during the winter, when it makes a nest out of
snow and ice and the pups are born there. This is one of the reasons
why global warming is a threat for the seals: if the winters get
warmer, there won’t be enough snow and the seals can’t make nests and
this puts the pups in danger.
Another danger for the seals comes in the shape of fishing nets; pups
in particular can get tangled in them and drown. To prevent this,
people who go fishing on the living areas of the seals are advised not
to use nets.
The number of seals in Lake Saimaa was once as low as 100 to 150, but
the number has since then gone up. In 2013 there were about 300, and
the species is still considered endangered.