Are Harp Seals Endangered?

harp-seals-endangered Credit: Jeff Foott/Discovery Channel Images/Getty Images

Harp seals are not an endangered species, according to Scientific American. However, scientists and colleagues at Duke University and the International Wildlife Fund have determined that a decrease of winter ice at harp seal breeding grounds is an ongoing threat.

Scientists have observed that the rate of melting spring ice, which occurs between February and March, has accelerated, as reported by the National Marine Fisheries Service, a department of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). As of 2014, this situation has left mother harp seals with less thick ice on which to give birth and nurture young pups. Typically, baby harp seals have a nursing period lasting 12 days. Scientists continue to study the effects this warming trend has on the seal population.

Other threats to the harp seal population are human hunting, boat strikes and environmental pollution.