Help us to save the island’s seal population

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The Manx Wildlife Trust is raising funds to save and sustain the seal population in the Isle of Man.

The island is home to two species of seals, the Atlantic grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) and the common seal (Phoca vitulina).

The MWT says that seals are an important feature of our marine landscape, forming an important role in the ecosystem.

They are top predators who help to maintain the ecological balance, preventing a population from growing larger than the system can support.

The removal of such species can result in disruption of trophic levels in the food chain and alter the entire ecosystem. Seals make up an important part of our Island’s Living Seas and they need our protection.

A spokesman said: ‘The better we understand factors such as breeding success, seasonal distribution and the occurrence of disease, the better we can protect our seals and the seas in which they live.

‘This is particularly important now with the potential development of renewable projects in Manx waters. We need to know where these animals go to feed or spend time to ensure the placement of any potential devices does not significantly impact the seals.’

Every autumn, the MWT arries out seal surveys on the Calf of Man.

For six weeks, volunteers monitor the seal populations and number of pups born during their breeding and mating season

The trust says this project has brought great results, allowing MWT to identify female seals who return year after year to give birth to their pups and gain insights into the behaviour of these spectacular creatures.

However, this work provides only a small look into the lives of seal populations.

Little is known about their movements for the rest of the year or even the numbers seen around the Isle of Man as a whole.

There is also a much wider scope to study their behaviour, mating patterns, their movement and more.

The last survey looking at seal abundance and distribution around the Isle of Man was in 2007. Needless to say, there is much more that needs to be done to get a better understanding of these creatures in our waters.

The MWT’s Living Seas Programme is designed to protect the Isle of Man’s marine environment and the wildlife it supports. By supporting this programme, well-wishers can help protect seals in Manx waters.

To make a donation online at this site.

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