10 Interesting Facts About Seals

International Day of the Seal was started in 1982.

Drawing attention to the cruelty of seal hunting and the threats seals face that can lead to their extinction.

10 Interesting Facts About Seals

  1. Seals actually get their water from the prey that they eat. They have to avoid drinking too much sea water as it can make them ill, so their bodies are well adapted to remove and recycle water from their food.

  2. Seals species are thought to be descended from land mammals such as the ancestors of bears or even otters.

  3. They are carnivorous mammals and usually feed on fish, octopuses, shellfish, squid and even seabirds. One species of seal, the leopard seal will even eat other seals!

  4. There are 33 species of Pinnipeds (meaning fin-footed), more commonly known as seals. The 3 main groups are walruses, eared seals and earless seals. It is worth noting that earless seals do actually have ears under the skin, they just aren't visible.

  5. Typically, seals will live between 25 and 30 years, depending on the species. Generally the females will live longer than the males, as with many marine mammals.

  6. The smallest species of seal is the Baikal Seal, which typically grow to around 1.3 metres in length. While the largest species if the Southern Elephant Seal which grow to around 5.8 metres.

  7. Seals are semi-aquatic, meaning they spend a portion of their time out of the water. They are adapted to sleeping underwater but do in fact return to the land to mate, give birth, escape aquatic predators and to sunbath.

  8. It is illegal to harass, touch or even feed seals as this can impact their behaviours and disturb crucial resting times. Leave Sleeping Seals Lie.

  9. Most seal species are able to stay under the water for up to 30 minutes, and they will typically dive for around 3 minutes at a time. The longest recorded dive comes from the elephant seal, they can hold their breaths for around 2 hours!

  10. Mother seals carry their young for around 12 months, they will have a single pup and it is uncommon to have twins. Of the 33 species of seals 20 of them breed on land and 13 breed on ice.

Seals Sleeping

Seal Hunting

Originally International Day of the Seal was set up to bring awareness to seal hunting, raising awareness about the cruelty and potential sustainability problems surrounding the activity.

Seal hunting has been around for centuries, from as early as the 1500s seal hunting was a lucrative business as seal oil was used to lubricate old machinery. Then as fashion evolved the demand for seal fur increased and led to the slaughter of thousands of seal pups for their beautiful fur coats. It it worth noting that since 1987 Canada has banned the killing of white-coated seal pups. The vast majority of the harp seals killed are between 1 month and 3.5 months old.

The demand for both these items has severely decreased, according to National Geographic in 2016 "... sealing generated only $1.6 million in sales, down from $34 million in 2006, according to Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans." 

In Canada, the government does require that sealers carry a licence and they have to have gone through "training in humane killing practices". These humane killing practices are put in place to ensure that the seals are killed quickly and in as little pain as possible...

" mandates that sealers target a seal’s head using high-powered rifles, clubs, or a hakapik—a wooden staff with a hook at the end. The sealer is then required to ensure that the animal is dead and to sever its arteries before skinning it." - National Geographic

If you are interested in reading the Canadian governments regulations, rules and statistics then you can do here.

There is a history of unsustainable hunting, the Caribbean monk seal for example went extinct back in the 1970s. So despite there being regulations in place to help ensure that hunting is sustainable, it is still considered a threat to seals. 

Seal on the Rocks

Sign The Petition!

A petition has been started by Piya Cathorine to the Canadian government asking that they put an end to the seal hunts that kill thousands of seals every year. 

Canada's annual kill rates averaged out to over 291,000 between years 1952 to 1970. This works out to a total of around 400 seals per day and 2,000 per hunting boat. In more recent years, 2006 it was estimated that around 355,000 harp/ grey seals were hunted and in 2016 the Atlantic hunt alone took 70,000 seals.

"Although the entire process of killing seals in a timely manner is supposedly justification for murder; seals are supposed to be unconscious while dying. Studies have shown that most, even the majority of the time, seals are not put fully unconscious at all, leading to more distraught and excessive suffering on their behalf, which I find unacceptable and immoral."

If you want to see an end to the seal hunting then please take a moment to add your name to this petition, lets see if we can get it to 7,500!


Sign The Petition - End the Seal Hunt


Click here to sign the petition...

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