• Sara Vieira

Sighting of a Harp Seal (Pagophilus groenlandicus) on Faial Island

Our Association AtlanticNaturalist.org has been helping in the monitorization on the first harp seal alive that was sighted in the Azores. The last observation was made today at 13:56, the animal enters the water and until know, we didn't saw him again. We hope the animal had rested and started his journey back home!


It was first sighted on the 17th of August, at Almoxarife, and belongs to the group of Pinnipeds, which includes sea lions, fur seals, true seals, and walruses. On the day after the same animal was sighted in Castelo Branco, where it stayed until today.


The work of DRAM, Maritime Police, Nature Rangers, and all of the people from Faial allowed this animal to rest and contributed to his recuperation.


The distribution of this species is normally restricted to the NW Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. Since it is a species that likes the ice, its sighting in this area causes some concern. It's the second record of a harp seal in the Azores, being the first one found dead in Pico Island, on july of 2002.


Due to his coloration pattern and ventral observation, it's possible to confirm that the individual is a male. The animal was not in his maximum physical condition, however, there were no reasons to intervene.


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In this photo, we can see the hood black on his face. It is one characteristic that distinguished the males from the females


Harp seal laid down on the lateral side


lying flat on ventrum, head and tail down


Harp seal flat on their stomach with both front flippers stretched straight



Our team monitoring the harp seal from a distance!

20 views

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