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Saimaa Ringed Seals saved by man-made snow drifts

A LIFE project led by Eurosite member Metsähallitus Natural Heritage Service has been awarded the Finnish Biodiversity Award 2013-2014 by the National IUCN Committee of Finland. The project Saimaa Seal LIFE was chosen due to its efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change on the seals’ breeding grounds.

The Saimaa Ringed Seals need snowdrifts to breed. These snowdrifts usually form naturally, but the snow on Lake Saimaa was so thin over the winter of 2013-2014 that the snow mounds did not form. To mitigate this problem, a team of more than 100 volunteers created 240 man-made snow mounds and in the spring of 2014, 59 seal pups were born in nests made in the man-made snow mounds.

Other actions carried out as part of the five-year Saimaa Seal project include promoting seal-friendly fishing methods, providing the public with information about the seals, and reinforcing compliance with restrictions related to the seals. Find out more about the project on the Saimaa Seal LIFE website.