Seals in Słowiński National Park
Four grey seals, born at the seal sanctuary at the UG’s Professor Krzysztof Skóra Marine Station in Hel, part of the Institute of Oceanography, began their independent lives on the beach at Czołpino in Słowiński National Park on 24 May 2016, according to an announcement by the Marine Station and the WWF Poland.
“This year’s litter from our Hel post, Omułek, Ostoja, Oceanografia and Okrzemka, have been released into their natural environment and from day one have been involved in research into a life strategy of young seals by gathering important scientific data”, as Dr Iwona Pawliczka from the Hel Marine Station explains in the announcement. As she adds, the animals are being monitored thanks to satellite transmitters as they perform their daily routines. In this way they will provide scientists with important information on their geographical location and their migration routes, which will prove useful in protecting the species.
The scientists also said that the population of Baltic grey seals is on the increase. Protecting them effectively and improving the condition of the marine environment should contribute to this tendency. They have also observed a gradual return of these animals to the Polish coast, particularly to the waters of the Bay of Gdańsk region. In 2016, scientists recorded the first birth of a grey seal in the estuary of Vistula Przekop. The mother turned out to be a female born in the sanctuary in 2010. At the age of six, she gave birth to her presumably first offspring there.
“I observed the seal on Wednesday, 24 February”, reported Jan Wilkanowski from the WWF’s Blue Patrol in the announcement. “There was a baby seal lying on the sandy peninsula suckling its mother. Analysis of my photographs by the Marine Station in Hel confirmed this. So we have the first spotting of a seal cub with its mother for many decades,” he stated.
The Marine Station has been gathering information on the migration of young seals since 2002. So far, close to thirty seals have entered the Baltic as the offspring of the Hel colony.
The seals’ first months of roaming after being released into the wild on Tuesday can be followed at: www.wedrowkifok.wwf.pl.
Monika Łaskawska-Wolszczak of the WWF Poland reminds us that if we see a seal on the beach, we should observe it from a distance. The presence of seals on the coast is perfectly natural and should not come as a surprise. The appearance of humans can be stressful for seals. At the same time, Ms Łaskowska-Wolszczak encourages people to inform the WWF’s Blue Patrol of any sighting on 795 53 60 09 or the Marine Station in Hel on 601 88 99 40.
Source: PAP – Science in Poland