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Gray Seal Count Planned for This Autumn

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Gray Seal Count Planned for This Autumn

Seals at the Reykjavík Zoo.

Seals at the Reykjavík Zoo. Photo: Páll Kjartansson.

An annual scientific count of gray seals will be conducted from the air this autumn, reports mbl.is. As of last count, Icelandic gray seal stock had declined dramatically since 1990, from 13,000 to 6,000 animals, according to the Icelandic Seal Center.

Sigurður Líndal Þórisson, managing director of the Icelandic Seal Center in Hvammstangi, Northwest Iceland, said today in Morgunblaðið, the print newspaper version of mbl.is, that seal population counts have been conducted in two ways up until now: either on land by volunteers or by scientists from the air.

Last year, the Center conducted an aerial count of common seals, or harbor seals, and the results painted a less than rosy picture of the population size.

Sigurður stated that common seal stock was below the government’s target, based on the results of last year’s count. “The common seal population has decreased by 77 percent since 1980. More research is needed to establish the cause of the decline.” Sigurður pointed out that the government is obliged to monitor the ocean environment under the terms of international agreements.

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