Human Activities Aid Endangered Seals

By on November 11, 2015

Piling a human-made snowdrift in the breeding habitat of the ringed seal in Lake Saimaa, Finland. (Credit: Mervi Kunnasranta)

A new study shows that human activity can be a force for good in helping endangered animals cope with climate change, according to a University of Eastern Finland press release.

In Finland, endangered Saimaa ringed seals are experiencing the negative impacts of climate change. A successful mating season requires friendly zones with plenty of ice and snow. Scientists found that artificially manufactured snowdrifts helped the seals cope with climate change.

The drifts, formed before the seals’ breeding season, were made using shovels and pushers to provide safe homes for the seals and their pups. In addition to the manmade snow drifts, researchers also planted unobtrusive tracking devices to monitor the seals’ reproductive progress.

The scientists say the Saimaa ringed seals’ biggest threat is their pups’ high mortality rate. To save the seals, they recommend activities that will increase pup survival rates.

Top image: Piling a human-made snowdrift in the breeding habitat of the ringed seal in Lake Saimaa, Finland. (Credit: Mervi Kunnasranta)

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