Ladoga ringed seal in Russia

Tours to see Ladoga ringed seal

The Ladoga ringed seal (Phoca hispida ladogensis) is  a post-glacial relic, as are two other subspecies, the  Baltic ringed seal (P.h.botnica) and the Saimaa ringed seal (P.h.saimensis). Ladoga ringed seal inhabits Lake Ladoga, the largest lake in Europe. Nowadays, Ladoga and Saimaa seals are the only ringed seals in the  world thet live permanently in freshwater lakes. At present the Ladoga ringed seal is included in the Red Data Books of Russia and Karelia and in the IUCN red List as a vulnerable  species. The population had declined dramatically from an estimated 20,000 in the early part of last century to  between 2,000 and 3,000 now. It is felt to be essential that active concervation steps are taken now befor the population declines to  the point that its ramaining genetic diversity is lost.

Ladoga seal live normally 30-35 years. Ladoga seal reaches sexual maturity when 6-7 years old. Ladoga seal deliver offsprinf in February-March,  and  nurses the younf seal for 1,5-2 months. Ladoga seal moults annually from April to June (with the peak in mid-April – early May), and during this period the  animals are less careful and hence most vulnerable. Ladoga seal feed on  small fishes like smelt, vendace, roach and perch. The  daily ration is 3-4 kg. When the lake is free of ice seal haul out. At present the largest seal herds are found in and around the Valamo archipelago. When the  weather is calm ther can be hers of 600-650 animals on the site.