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seals head west - new population record

These are the key findings of the latest stock survey presented on friday by the wadden sea secretariat in wilhelmshaven, whose experts have been monitoring the stocks of harbor seals from aircraft figures.

According to this, there are 26,788 seals in the mudflats off danmark, germany and the netherlands. That is a record since the start of the payment in 1975. Extrapolating this figure to include animals underwater that could not be seen during the inspection flights, the total value of the treasure is almost 40,000 seals. The increase in the number of animals actually paid for compared to the previous year is a good 2 percent. The number of young animals, on the other hand, decreased by 4 percent.

"The harbor seals in the wadden sea form a stable population and, as in previous years, we are excited about this positive development," said the head of the joint wadden sea secretariat of the three lander, jens enemark.

The shift of the population towards the west is remarkable. For example, there has been a 30 percent drop in the number of trees in the forest before denmark. Schleswig-holstein also lost 10 percent of its population. On the other hand, further south or west, lower saxony/hamburg gained 25 percent and the netherlands 16 percent. Experts have no clear explanation for the trend, but suspect reasons such as food supply or reproductive conditions.

The youngest seal mortality occurred in 2002 and killed almost half of the population. Since then the population has grown.

A different trend was found in the numbers of grey seals. Your insistence can be raised during the change of fur in march/april. With 2785 animals, the population fell by almost a third (31 percent) compared to the previous year. But the experts can give the all-clear, because the number of young people, especially in the netherlands and on helgoland, has risen sharply.

There are several explanations for the collapse of the adult grey seal population. The harsh winter delayed the change of coat, so many animals were probably still in the water at the time of the flight. In addition, poor visibility has made control difficult, and the long winter has hampered the usual influx of animals from british waters. The secretariat therefore concluded: "according to experts, the decline in overall numbers is less dramatic than the current numbers data indicate."

Seals with their sublime googly eyes and clumsy movement on land are certainly a symbolic animal of the wadden sea. The tourism industry markets them accordingly – seals adorn coffee mugs, t-shirts or tea tins. According to conservation experts, seals are only of limited use as an indicator of the state of the natural landscape of the wadden sea, which has been designated a world heritage site by unesco.

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