The Harp Seal Essay

The Harp Seal Essay.

No other seal on earth can truly be represented as the most studied as well as the most exploited as the Harp Seal is. There are number of various products that are derived from this particular seal. This happens to be a major source of business in certain countries. Those such as Norway, Canada, and China rely heavily on the products for a good portion of their import and export income. At this time there is nothing suggesting a slowdown in the seal products.

The consumers keep the demand for the products at a steady stream. The Harp Seal too many is considered a beautiful and gentle creature. However the sealers (seal hunter), often refer to the animal as a type of fish. They could not be more incorrect. The Harp seal is an aquatic mammal that is related to the sea lion and the walrus. Further breakdown in the classification system shows the mammal belongs to the Suborder of Pinnipedia.

A Pinnipedia basically means a flipper footed animal.

Then they are put in the Family of Phocidae which means that the true Harp Seal lacks an external ear. The Harp Seal lives separated into three groups which are determined by where they will breed. The seal can be found living in the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans from Russia to Newfoundland and St. Lawrence and Canada. Specifically they are located in the White Sea, The West Ice and the Northwest Atlantic. Fossil remains studied by expert’s points to an existence from about twenty million years ago.

They were found to be living in the northern hemisphere and are derived from a group of meat eating land based mammals. The Harp Seal is named so because of the distinctive pattern on the fur as an adult. They have a base color or white or light cream shades with a black face and the black horseshoe or harp shaped design across their back. Young seal pups however, are called “white coats” due to the fact they are born with an all white coat. This is the typical picture that people imagine when they think of the cute fuzzy animal.

Unfortunately this stunning coat helps contribute to their own demise. Although killing the animal before it loses the all white coat is prohibited, many sealers still fiercely seek out the pups to then make fur coats. The seal will begin to lose the soft white coat when they are about two weeks old. Then is replaced with a permanent coat that is short, thick and has variations of the white or light cream color with the face being black and of course the black harp shaped design across their back.

All three populations are hunted each year for commercial use. The majority of sealers are in Canada, Norway, Russia and Greenland As mentioned earlier, the Harp Seal is used to make many products. They produce a type of oil, medications and the meat is sold for a source of food for some animals and humans. As odd as it may be, even the penis is used and is sold as an aphrodisiac. The idea that is most under fire by advocates is the manner by which the mammal killed.

Most sealers club the animal in the head with a baseball bat or another heavy object. Even more disturbing is the fact that some sealers have seen skinning the animal while still alive sometimes conscious! In 2001 a group of advocates posed as tourists and took the guided tours to where the animal is slaughtered. One of the guides went so far as to tell the people that page 3 the seal population needed to be decreased and that the seal was to blame for the cod shortage.

This is where it was discovered that many animals had to be struck a second time and forty-two percent of the seals where in fact being skinned alive and often still conscious. If the seal is not killed prematurely, they may live an average of thirty years. Although a seal pup starts off relatively small, at about twenty pounds, they end up becoming about three-hundred pounds. The average length of an adult is about five feet, five inches. The females are typically somewhat smaller than the males.

The Harp Seal Essay

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