Kimmo Ohtonen, who reports on nature issues for the current-affairs TV show Puoli seitsemän, completed his 126.4 kilometre swim through Lake Saimaa on Friday. The massive Saimaa system comprises Europe’s fourth-largest freshwater lake.
Ohtonen’s 11-day stunt raised more than 120,000 euros – as well as awareness – on behalf of the rare seals.
With just some 300 individuals, the endemic Saimaa seal population is considered to be teetering on the brink of extinction. Despite stricter fishing laws, seals have continued to die in nets this past summer.
Ohtonen’s epic swim began on Tuesday morning, August 28, in the town of Savonlinna. He proceeded day-by-day through Puumala to Lappeenranta near the Russian border.
The fundraising drive, organised in partnership with WWF Finland, continues through September 15.