The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced last week that six groups of seals would receive protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) due to the shrinking of their habitat as sea ice disappears.
Six distinct groups of seals will be protected, including two bearded seal populations located in Alaska and Russia and four subspecies of ringed seals found in Alaska, Russia, the Baltic region, and the Arctic.
Sea ice is an important safe-haven for seals and provides a habitat where they can breed, whelp, nurse, and molt. The loss of sea ice severely threatens seals and leaves them vulnerable to the cold and to predators.
In a statement, Jon Kurland, protected resources director for NOAA Fisheries’ Alaska region, said, “Our scientists undertook an extensive review of the best scientific and commercial data. They concluded that a significant decrease in sea ice is probable later this century and that these changes will likely cause these seal populations to decline.”
Read more here.
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