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Saimaa ringed seal livecam back by popular demand

This is the seventh year fans get to watch the endangered seals bask in the sun via real-time livestream.

Saimaannorppa vaihtamassa karvaa kivellä.
Saimaa ringed seals were hunted to the brink of extinction in the 1900s. Only some 430 individuals of the extremely rare seal species currently survive in the wild. Image: Jouni Koskela
Yle News

Wildlife conservation group WWF relaunched its popular Norppalive webcast for the seventh successive year on Wednesday. The live stream, which attracts millions of viewers each year, casts live footage of one of the Saimaa ringed seals' favourite basking spots.

The wildlife foundation hopes that the live footage will not only raise awareness for one of the world's most endangered and rare seals, but also bring watchers a sense of calm to counterbalance the prevailing geopolitical situation.

"It brings a nice and peaceful feeling that makes you forget about the storms looming over the world. It makes for a nurturing viewing experience," says Savonlinna nature photographer and fisherman Juha Taskinen, who has been among the organisers of the Norppalive webcast.

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The location of the rock has remained undisclosed in order to protect the species. Last year the project ended early after the camera's whereabouts were discovered by people eager to locate the mammals.

This is the time of the year when the species sheds its winter coat, a weeks-long process that constitutes hard work for the seals who have to stay vigilant while trying to remain dry. Stressful events such as a passing motorboat or eager photographers approaching too close may scare seals away and back into the water.

WWF is thus asking that anyone wandering around the Saimaa lake area avoids disturbing the basking mammals.

Ever since its emergence in 2016, Norppalive has been viewed more than 21 million times.

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