The Saimaa ringed seal is in serious danger of becoming extinct if efforts to protect it are not upgraded, says Metsahallitus, the Finnish state institution concerned with regulating natural resources.
The ringed seal population in the Saimaa waterway in the southeast of Finland has been calculated at 260, down from 280 a few years ago, Helsingin Sanomat reports.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently upgraded its classification of the seal to ‘extremely endangered’, and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea has called on the Finnish government to enact more efficient measures to protect the seals.
Warmer winters, drowning of seals caught in fishing nets and traps, and the dispersed nature of the seals themselves are the main factors blamed for the species’ lamentable predicament.
The seals were once mainly seen as a nuisance, and were hunted just to get rid of them. That attitude has not completely gone away.