Great news - the CINBR will be able to continue studying the harbor seal, or the flower seal, as we sometimes call it, using the most modern technologies. This became possible as the Commander Islands Nature Reserve won WWF Russia Grant Competition for Nature Reserves and National Parks. The 13 best environmental projects, selected by the jury, are aimed at studying vulnerable ecosystems, monitoring and preserving rare species.
Harbor seal on Medny Island. Photo by Anastasia Panfilova
Phoca vitulina stejnegeri is a rare subspecies of the common seal listed in the Red Book of Russia. Harbor seal is the most numerous and permanent inhabitant of the coastal waters of the islands from among the true seals. It forms a large number of permanent habitats along the coast of the islands. So, on Bering Island, experts count over 40 haul-outs, and over 20 on Medny Island. But despite this, scientists do not know much about the life of the animal. Harbor seal is a very cautious and shy seal. It never had a serious commercial value, therefore, unlike its "eared counterparts" fur seals and sea lions also living on the Commander Islands, the harbor seal was not studied in detail.
It is easy to spot a harbor seal by his unusual posture. Photo - Alexey Perelygin
On the Commander Islands, in the CINBR we protect and study eared seals, which include the northern fur seal and sea lion, as well as true seals, one of which is the harbor seal.
Thanks to the financial assistance of WWF Russia, the Commander Islands Nature Reserve will be able to purchase and install 6 tags on harbor seals, which will transmit data on animal movements.
As a result, the reserve hopes to receive a bouquet of important information about the life of the flower seal, information on routes, specifics and peculiarities of movements, as well as behavior, both on land and in water. The CINBR already has experience with this technology and we are still receiving data from the tag installed in September last year. Read more about the first experience of tagging harbor seals and Pioneer in our article .
This is how the satellite tags for harbor seal look like
In addition, WWF Russia grant will allow the reserve to publish a children's book, where we will tell the youngest nature lovers about the calm and unusual life of anthurs in the waters of the Commander Islands. Working with kids is traditionally one of the most important (and beloved, don't say anyone) types of work, because respect for our neighbors on the planet is brought up from childhood.
Antur with a tag installed Photo of the CINBR press service
The CINBR is grateful to WWF Russia for selecting our project as one of the winners of the competition. This decision will make it possible to obtain new data on the ecology of the surroundings, which means, in the long term, to preserve this amazing and charming animal for the future of Kamchatka and the whole country. The CINBR team would like to thank all WWF Russia supporters, people who are not indifferent to the future of the most fragile corners of our planet. It is thanks to your support that this important project is being implemented.
You can find the full list of territories that received grants, as well as find out for which projects the funds were allocated, on WWF Russia website at the link https://clck.ru/TycaG
You can learn more about marine mammals of the Commander Islands Nature Reserve, including the harbor seal, on our website .