Seal Survey

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I’m staring out of the cockpit of a helicopter searching for telltale white fur balls on the rugged rocks of the Stockholm archipelago. I have been invited to accompany Anja Carlsson and Markus Ahola of the Swedish Museum of Natural History on their annual seal pup survey. When we spot the distinctive white of newborn seals we fly in closer, Markus photographs, Anja records coordinates and observations and I film. The still images are a resource that will enable the researchers to count the number of seal pups born this year and to analyse their distribution. My film sequences will form part of a series of documentaries that Deep Sea Productions is producing on the prime predator of the Baltic Sea, grey seal.

Despite its position at the top of the food chain surprisingly little is known about the  Baltic Grey Seal. Numbers are disputed, members of the fishing community see it as a competitor for diminishing fish stocks, others see the recovery of the population in recent years as a positive development for the ecosystem. What we do know is that the work done by Anja, Markus and their colleagues is key to making informed decisions about the management and conservation of the Baltic marine ecosystem.

Reportage: Simon Stanford
Photo: Simon Stanford, Alexandre Gobatti Ramos
Editor: Alexandre Gobatti Ramos

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