At the beach for the Fourth of July? Make sure to pack out your trash!
Plastic debris has a long, long lifespan and can float a long way from where it starts, endangering marine life. Here, a Hawaiian monk seal pup investigates a large piece of plastic on Lisianski Island in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The islands within the monument are uninhabited, but tons of trash washes up on their beaches each year, posing a threat to the animals that live there. Help them out and make sure to properly dispose of your trash!
The gray seal population in New England has bounced back, and new data points to how well seal numbers are doing.
Gray seal numbers had been decimated for more than a century when the Marine Mammal Protection Act was passed in 1972. The animals were hunted in New England, and as NPR has reported, Massachusetts even paid a bounty of $5 each.
Though it has been clear that the population has grown in number, it has been difficult to pinpoint just how much.
“Past surveys based on traditional methods of counting, using occupied aircraft to survey seals on beaches, islands and seasonal ice cover, counted about 15,000 seals off the southeastern Massachusetts coast,” David W. Johnson, a professor of marine conservation ecology at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, said in a statement.
world_wildlifeMan-made snowbanks give Saimaa ringed seals, like this pup, a lifeline. With an estimated 360 individuals left in the wild, the Saimaa ringed seal is one of the rarest seals in the world. Found only in the Saimaa water system in Finland, the seals face increasingly low-snow winters due to climate change and this makes nesting more difficult. This year, the seals were struggling to find nests to give birth, so a group of volunteers, including WWF, went to work to create snow banks for them. Out of the 81 pups born months later, 90% were born in these man-made snowbanks.
Fjörulalli, or Shore Laddie, is a creature that is said to be stalking the beaches of Iceland. They’re typically described as a fat, wet seal. The innocent looking animal has a strange attraction to pregnant women. Farmers report that the
Fjörulalli also will mate with sheep when given the chance, resulting in lambs with deformed rear legs.