Saimaa ringed seal

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Saimaa ringed seal
Pusa hispida saimensis ca 1956.jpg
Scientific classification
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P. h. saimensis
Trinomial name
Pusa hispida saimensis
(Nordquist, 1899)
Phoca Hispida Saimensis Distribution.PNG
Synonyms
Phoca hispida saimensis

The Saimaa ringed seal (Pusa hispida saimensis) is a subspecies of ringed seal (Pusa hispida). Usually seals live in the sea, but Saimaa ringed seals live in Lake Saimaa in Finland. There are only 320 Saimaa ringed seals in the world. They are among the most endangered seals in the world.[2]

After the last ice age was over, dry land was rising slowly. This isolated Lake Saimaa from the sea. Some seals were also isolated in Saimaa. Their successors become Saimaa ringed seals.[3]

Appearance[change | change source]

A stuffed Saimaa ringed seal at the Finnish Museum of Natural History.

An adult Saimaa ringed seal is between 130 and 145 centimetres (4.27 and 4.76 ft) long and weighs between 50 and 90 kilograms (110 and 200 lb). Usually male seals are larger than females. Their colour is dark gray, with circular white ring patterns.[4]

Reproduction[change | change source]

Saimaa ringed seals give birth towards the end of February.[5] They dig a nest in snow on top of lake ice. Snow nest gives shelter for young seal pups. If there is not enough snow, young seals do not survive. In 2010s, volunteers help seals by building artificial piles of snow on lake ice.[5] Studies by the University of Eastern Finland showed the Ringed Seals would nest in man-made snowdrifts the same as natural snowdrifts.[5]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Endangered and Threatened Species under NMFS' Jurisdiction" (PDF). United States Fish & Wildlife Service. 6 April 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  2. "Ultra-rare Saimaa seal population recovers slowly". Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  3. "The Saimaa Ringed Seal Genome Project". Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  4. Saimaa ringed seal SLL 2015
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Endangered Saimaa Ringed Seal pups get help from volunteers shovelling snow". Retrieved 9 December 2015.

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to Pusa hispida saimensis at Wikimedia Commons
Data related to Pusa hispida saimensis at Wikispecies