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Efforts to protect endangered seal pups proving successful, conservationists say

A record number of Saimaa ringed seal pups were born this year, as tighter restrictions on fishing nets in the region led to fewer deaths.

Kuvassa on saimaannorppa Savonlinnassa.
File photo. Image: Juha Metso / AOP
Yle News

Conservation work aimed at protecting and replenishing the population of Saimaa ringed seals are proving successful so far, according to a report by Finland's network of regional economic development ELY-centres.

The research found that 90 new seal pups — a new record — were born in 2021 and this figure appears to have been exceeded this year, with an estimated 92 pups born.

The agency noted that tighter restrictions on net fishing in the Saimaa lake region have contributed to the success of the conservation efforts.

Between 2012 and 2017, an average of seven ringed seals died in fishing nets every year, while only two similar deaths have been reported so far this year.

The report added that the Saimaa ringed seal population increased by an average of 5.6 percent every year between 2015 and 2020.

An annual live stream of the Saimaa seals in their natural habitat, which attracts millions of viewers each year, has also brought widespread attention to the highly-endangered species.

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