harp seal

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harp seal,

crested earless, or true, sealseal,
carnivorous aquatic mammal with front and hind feet modified as flippers, or fin-feet. The name seal is sometimes applied broadly to any of the fin-footed mammals, or pinnipeds, including the walrus, the eared seals (sea lion and fur seal), and the true seals, also called
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, Phoca groenlandica, found in the N Atlantic around Greenland and the White Sea. In the spring, harp seals migrate southward to assemble in large groups to breed near the Newfoundland and Norwegian coasts. The young, born on ice floes, are covered with a fluffy white coat from birth to weaning (about 12 to 18 days) and are hunted for their fur, meat, and skin. The clubbing to death of baby seals aroused much protest in the 1970s, and trade in their white furs has declined after Europe banned imports in the mid-1980s. A decade later, however, concerns over the seals' affect on the cod fisheries led to increased quotas and the return of large commercial operations to the annual hunt, but killing of white-coated baby seals is banned. The fur gradually darkens to gray as the young seals mature. The old males are marked with a brown crest on each side, suggesting the outline of a harp. Harp seals, sometimes seen as far S as Maine, are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora.


See F. Bruemmer, The Life of the Harp Seal (1977).

Harp Seal


or Greenland seal (Phoca [Pagophilus] groen-landica), a mammal of the family Phocidae, order Pinnipedia. Body length, 160–195 cm; weight 100–160 kg. The coloration of the adult is white with two large, dark fields. Harp seals live in arctic waters, where they form three herds: the New foundland, the Jan-Mayen, and the White Sea. In summer they live in small groups at the edge of ice floes, feeding on pelagic crustaceans, mollusks, and small fish. In autumn the harp seals migrate to the regions where they bear young, moult, and mate; there they form large groups on the ice (“infant rookeries”). Harp seals are the main game of commercial sealing in the north of Europe. Their fat is used; the newborn seals yield a valuable fur. As a result of uncontrolled hunting, their numbers have sharply declined in the last decades.

References in periodicals archive ?
Repetition patterns within harp seal (Pagophilus groenlandicus) underwater calls.
These climate and vegetation cycles coincide with the cultural patterns, notably the appearance of Groswater and Dorset Paleoeskimos with cooler periods, lower sea surface temperatures, and higher sea ice indices, factors that would have promoted large seasonal harp seal populations in the Gulf.
The virus is believed to have originated in harp seals in which the infection is enzootic (4).
Targeting the massive East Coast seal hunt, which is responsible for 85 per cent of the Canadian harp seal harvest, the ban doesn't apply to products derived from traditional Inuit hunts, such as the one I'm experiencing.
The time has now come for the Canadian government to follow suit and end their cruel hunt for harp seals once and for all.
Harp seals do not walk on their flippers like other seals.
Figures used by Canadian authorities indicate that the Northwest Atlantic harp seal population was at approximately 5.
Listen to the sounds numerous critters make, from harp seal pups to great horned owls: www.
Wearing bright orange floatation suits, he and his wife staged a photo opportunity with a harp seal pup on the ice.
The Agnus Dei comes from the voices of harp seal pups, and the whole thing is set to Brazilian and African rhythms.
With the haunting cries of the harp seal pups playing in the ice behind them the only other sound, Sir Paul said: 'We are out here on the ice floe trying to call upon the Canadian people, the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Government to consider putting an end once and for all to the seal culls.