New measures to protect the Saimaa seal in Finland

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Finland is considering restrictions on things like lakeside cottage construction in an effort to protect the endangered saimaa seal. (iStock)
Finland is considering restrictions on things like lakeside cottage construction in an effort to protect the endangered saimaa seal. (iStock)
Restrictions on new holiday homes, more limits on fishing and an 800 metre no-go zone around dens are included in new measures being considered to further protect some of the most endangered mammals on the planet.

The newspaper Maaseudun Tulevaisuus reported on Monday morning that a working group at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has generated a list of new restrictions for the Lake Saimaa region in areas that are home to Finland’s population of rare freshwater Saimaa ringed seals.

The working group is especially stressing the need to impose further restrictions on the construction of new holiday homes and on fishing. In addition, it is proposing that special species protection zones be established covering a radius of 800 metres around Saimaa seal dens with young pups.

If implemented, the new rules would not require present owners of lakeside cottages to abandon their holiday homes, but would likely make it much more difficult to acquire building permits for new construction in areas where the seals live.

With only an estimated 310 individuals in the wild in eastern Finland, the Saimaa ringed seal is considered as under threat of imminent extinction. Humans represent the only threat to their continued existence.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Nunavut hunters seeing fewer ringed seals in Canada’s eastern Arctic, CBC News

Finland:  Snow cannon to help Saimaa seals build dens, Yle News

Iceland: Endangered whale meat shipped from Iceland via Halifax, The Canadian Press

Norway: Rapid growth in Svalbard walrus population, Barents Observer

Sweden: Rare dolphin spotted on Sweden’s west coast, Radio Sweden

United States:  Biologists spot huge gathering of walruses in Arctic Alaska, Alaska Dispatch

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