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Baltic seal: what to do at a meeting?

“A seal was spotted on the Baltic Sea” – ten years ago almost all news feeds on the Internet were full of headlines of this kind. Baltic seals, almost completely disappeared, began to return …

Today you won’t surprise anyone with such information; seals on the Russian part of the Baltic coast can be found on the Curonian and Baltic sand spits, in Zelenogradsk and other sea resorts in the Kaliningrad region. And in neighboring Poland, on the Khelskoy sand spit, there is even a special research and reproductive seal nursery – a focaria. A similar nursery has recently appeared in the Netherlands.

Baltic seal in Zelenogradsk
At the beginning of the last century, seals in the Baltic were considered completely destroyed. Today it is already said that the population of Baltic gray seals has reached 20 thousand individuals. One hundred years ago, their number was estimated at 300 thousand, so it’s too early to talk about the restoration of the population. But the very fact of restoration of the biological species is very pleasing.

Baltic seal
However, there were some problems. Several years ago, Latvian fishermen raised the alarm. Seals, according to their stories, began to cause significant damage to the fishing industry – to eat fish from nets and tear the nets themselves. Fishermen even wanted to contact the European Union on this occasion, which banned the hunting of seals, in order to change the conservation status of seals, but this initiative quickly died out.

People and seals share Latvian fish
Relations between returned seals and tourists and residents of coastal cities and towns are not easy. Seals are generally not aggressive, although they have remarkable physical strength with their touching appearance, and a seal can bite a seal no weaker than a large dog. But on land, Baltic seals appear infrequently, during molting or breeding.

Baltic gray seal on the sandy beach of the Curonian Spit
There are known cases of vandalism and cruelty towards the Baltic seals, but, fortunately, such cases are rare. More often, people show excessive care and anxiety when meeting with pinnipeds. Every spring, agitated calls begin to arrive on the phones of Kaliningrad zoologists: “a seal has been washed ashore.” Zoologists, as they can, reassure people, explain that seals usually go ashore of their own free will, more precisely, by the will of nature. On the shore they have to go through a period of molting. The fact is that seals are not very caring mothers, after the end of the period of breastfeeding, the seal is left to its own devices. Nothing happened to such a lonely seal, he just matured and “changes coat”.

Seal on the Baltic Sea
Although it happens that a seal found on the seashore really needs human help. This is when traces of any injuries are clearly visible on his body, or he got entangled in a fishing net. It is not worth approaching the seal in such cases, this can attract the attention of dogs, foxes or irresponsible irresponsible people. You should also not try to stroke the animal (as mentioned above, a seal can bite) or push it into the sea. The correct actions are to call the specialists of Rosprirodnadzor or the nearest zoo by phone.

 

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