Seal Survival: Are Seals Endangered?

are seals endangered

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Seals can be found all over the world around coasts and cold waters, but the majority of them reside in the icy waters of the Arctic and Antarctic.

They have fur as well as a thick layer of blubber in order to keep them warm in cold waters, and they also have the ability to generate their own heat and maintain a steady body temperature.

In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at the seal population as a whole and answer are seals endangered?

No, seals are not currently an endangered species and have a conservation status of ‘Not Extinct’. These animals can be found all over the world but many of them reside in the Arctic.

Why Are Seals Being Hunted?

Although seals are not currently endangered, they are still being actively hunted in many countries around the world.

Seal hunting is practiced in the United States, Canada, Greenland, Finland, Sweden, and many other countries.

They are hunted primarily for their fur, which is used in many fashion garments. There is also a small market for seal oil, which is used both for industrial purposes and human consumption.

Most seal hunts take place in Canada, with annual commercial seal hunts taking place there since 1969.

They are struck with a traditional club called a hakapik, as well as being shot by boats. It’s a gruesome hunt that kills thousands of seals every single year, to this day.

Seals and many other marine mammals have a thick layer of blubber that helps to keep them warm in the cold waters they reside in.

Seals are hunted for their blubber which is sold at markets as well as their pelts, which have been used in Canada for many years to protect residents from the harsh weather.

Are Any Types Of Seals Endangered?

Sadly human hunting has led to the decline in many seal species over the years, but many of their population are stable due to them living out of human reach in the Arctic.

Some species of seal such as the Saimaa Ringed seal are currently endangered, with only around 400 individuals left in the wild.

The reason for their decline is largely due to hunting, environmental toxins, changes in the water level during the breeding season, and by-catch.

The last Caribbean Seal sighting was in 1952 at Serranilla Bank between Jamaica and Nicaragua. This animal is not sadly declared extinct.

The Hawaiin monk seal is also one of the most endangered animals on earth, their population has been declining for decades and there are now thought to be only 1400 left.

Will Seals Go Extinct?

The good news is that out of the roughly 18 different types of true seals, there are very few that are near endangered.

Seal populations in the likes of Antarctica are incredibly abundant and flourishing, as they are largely untouched by any human activities.

All six species of seal that live in Antarctica are classified as ‘Least Concern’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

The hunting of seals has led to a decline in many populations and combined with global warming some seal species could be at risk.

However, most seals that live in remote areas of the world will likely not be at risk of extinction for a very long time.

How Many Seals Are Left?

It is incredibly hard to put a number on how many seals are left around the globe. However, the IUCN estimates that there are anywhere between 2 million and 75 million across the globe.

These are healthy numbers and given that many seals reproduce every year, their numbers are not in danger of declining as a whole.

Some individual species of seals are declining, with some having as little as 400 individuals remaining.

Hopefully, these species remain protected and their numbers start to bounce back in the coming years.

Final Thoughts

So, are seals endangered? No, most species of seal are thriving and are not at risk of extinction. However, there are some species such as the Saimaa ringed seal that are at risk.

The good news is that many seals live in waters that are largely untouched by human activity, allowing them to flourish and reproduce in peace.

Seal hunts still go on every single year across the globe in countries such as the United States and Canada, which kill thousands of seals every year.

They are hunted for their pelts which are used in garments, as well as their blubber which is sold in many meat markets across the globe.

As a whole, seals are not at risk of becoming extinct any time soon, so don’t worry too much, and enjoy seals when you see them out in the wild.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and feel free to share it with others that may find it of value.