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"Norppalive" seal cam returns to mesmerise viewers in Finland

Viewers who tuned in to WWF Finland’s Norppalive seal camera Tuesday morning were immediately rewarded with a peek at Finland’s rare Saimaa ringed seal.

Denise Wall

If the Twitterverse is to be believed, the sight of a seal lolling on a waterside rock can be quite hypnotic, with some pondering the kind of peace that can come from simply staring at a rock. However the highlight of the opening day of WWF's Norppalive video stream was of course the appearance of the headline act.

“An hour and a half after the start of Norppalive the first seal swam past the camera. We have not yet been able to identify it because we couldn’t see the markings on the coat,” said WWF communications specialist Joonas Fritze.

A live camera set up in spring 2016 introduced nature lovers to a Saimaa ringed seal duo – Siiri and Pullervo – who received their names from viewers. In 2017, however, Pullervo starred in the live camera show all alone. Between 2016 and 2017, the Norppalive video stream was viewed five million times. The aim of the live cam is to build awareness of a highly endangered species and to provide a window into its everyday life in Saimaa in southeast Finland.

“It is exciting to anticipate when a seal will appear. Pullervo was seen near the camera at least yesterday. It’s not possible to predict the movements of the Saimaa seal with any certainty. So we cannot guarantee that it or any of its mates will immediately be visible on camera,” Fritze said.

Viewing the seals is easiest during the spring, when the animals climb onto the rocks to shed their winter pelts. Once they moult however, they prefer to spend their time under water, reducing the chances of viewing the seals in their natural habitat.

Watch the Norppalive video stream here.

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