Status of the harbour seal (<i>Phoca vitulina</i>) along the Murman coast of Russia
AbstractHarbour seals are observed along the Murmansk coast of Russia, but they are not very abundant there. The estimated abundance for this area was about 500 individuals in 1998. The number of seals observed during winter months is less than during summer. During summer, the main habitats are the Pechenga inlet, the Motovsky and Kola Bays of the Western Murman coast and the Ivanovskaya Bay in the Eastern Murman coast. The Ivanovskaya Bay was thought to be the easternmost breeding colony of the subspecies Phoca vitulina vitulina. However, recent sightings may indicate the establishment of a breeding site further to the east, which then becomes the easternmost known habitat for this subspecies. A substantial, recent decrease in abundance has been observed in the Ivanovskaya Bay. The population numbered about 120 seals in the early 1990s, but only about 20 seals were seen in 2007 and 2008. It is presumed that the reasons for this reduction include hunting, fishery by-catch, disturbance and depletion of the food supply in this semi-enclosed inlet. A gender-specific daily activity pattern was observed in the IvanovskayaBay. The highest number of single animals (primarily adult males) hauled out during mid day, while hauled out females with pups showed two peaks per day associated with low tides.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (SeeThe Effect of Open Access).