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Seals are found along most coasts and cold waters, but a majority of them live in the Arctic and Antarctic waters.  Harbor, ringed, ribbon, spotted and bearded seals, as well as northern fur seals and Steller sea lions live in the Arctic region.

Protecting freshwater seals in Alaska’s Lake Iliamna

Alaska's Lake Iliamna is home to a population of around 400 harbor seals, which feast on fish and bask on the rocky islands at the lake’s northeastern end. They are under threat from Pebble Mine, the enormous open-pit gold and copper mine proposed for headwaters just 17 miles northwest of the seals’ haul-out sites

lake iliamna




Human greed has led to the decline of many seal populations. In the past, millions of seals were killed for their valuable meat, blubber, and pelts. In some countries seals are still killed in large numbers because fishermen blame them for the decline in fish.

The ringed, ribbon, spotted and bearded seals, collectively known as “ice seals,” are Arctic inhabitants. The entire ringed seal lifecycle relies on ice and rapid ice loss in the Arctic causes seal pups to be prematurely separated from their mothers during the milking period. Rapid ice loss and the inability to build dens for protection leads to high pup mortality.

What WWF Is Doing


WWF works with agencies and coastal communities to ensure that harbor seals and other marine mammals are sustainably managed.

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