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Endangered Baltic ringed seals star in WWF livestream

The Baltic ringed seals are close relatives of Saimaa ringed seals, the stars of earlier popular webcasts.

Researchers estimate that there are less than 300 Baltic ringed seals in the Finnish archipelago area of the Baltic Sea. Image: Zoo-Life / Alamy

WWF Finland has launched a new live online stream featuring Baltic ringed seals living in the Finnish archipelago area of the Baltic Sea.

The Baltic ringed seals are close relatives of the Saimaa ringed seal, which have previously been the subject of popular webcasts.

However, few people are aware that a species of the seals also live in the Finnish archipelago, or that they are even more endangered than their relatives in Saimaa, with their numbers estimated to be between just 200 and 300.

Similar to Saimaa seals, the Baltic subspecies also shed their fur coats every spring. This means that they often bask in the sun on the shore or rocks of the waterline, as the mild and dry conditions help the mammals receive a natural makeover.

This annual ritual also offers an excellent opportunity for conservationists and researchers to catch them (siirryt toiseen palveluun) on camera.

In contrast to their Saimaa kin, the Baltic ringed seals tend to move in groups.

"In the best places on the banks of the islets, you could see dozens of Baltic ringed seals," WWF Finland's programme director Petteri Tolvanen said in a statement.

Ringed seals tend to choose quiet, wind-sheltered spots on the shoreline when they lie in the sun. The archipelago live stream will be provided by two different cameras, each at slightly different positions. The camera angles can also change in line with wind direction and the seals' positions.