Visiting the Harp Seal Pups

Every year, a colony of Harp seals makes its way to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence (Canada). On the floes, they give birth to their pups. This year I was lucky enough to visit these harp seal pups in the first two weeks after their birth.

A harp seal pup on the ice in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence (Photo: Koen Blanquart, 2015)
A harp seal pup on the ice in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence (Photo: Koen Blanquart, 2015)

Harp Seal Pups

A harp seal pup on the ice in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence (Photo: Koen Blanquart, 2015)
A harp seal pup on the ice in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence (Photo: Koen Blanquart, 2015)

When I arrived on the ice, after a helicopter trip of nearly an hour, it was amazing to observe the group of harp seals on the floe where we landed. When I arrived for my first visit, the pups were 10 days old.

The mothers are vigilant, and will very often come to have a look through one of the holes in the ice to see that the pups are OK. Some of them show very protective behavior when approaching them. But with some common sense, one eye on the pup, one eye on the mom, and another eye on the holes and cracks in the ice, it’s a relatively safe environment.

Great experience for me, I must say. I will write some articles in the next few days about the trip, and the experiences, but have shared the first set of images (unedited batch, more and better to follow):

A harp seal pup on the ice in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence (Photo: Koen Blanquart, 2015)
A harp seal pup on the ice in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence (Photo: Koen Blanquart, 2015)

The first set of images can be found in my portfolio.

5 replies
  1. markandkate8 says:

    Beautiful photographs. The seals like penguins are very family oriented. This is a place I would enjoy visiting.

    Reply
    • Koen says:

      Yes, indeed. But it’s not just the fur. It seems some of the oil is exported to China where it’s used for “medicinal” purposes.

      Reply

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