Harp Seal

Colour - light grey with large harp-shaped ring on the back; ring on the back is dark brown to black (less distinct in female, with back mostly black); faces are black (but not heads); immature animals spotted (less so than Harbour Seals); pups white

Length - 1.5 to 2 metres

Shape - thin and noticeable neck compared to other seals

Behaviour - often seen well offshore swimming in large herds (10-75 animals); swimming may include porpoising and leaping (when they are easily confused with dolphins)

Distribution - migrates to Labrador and Greenland for the winter, returning through Lancaster Sound to areas farther west in spring; some move west into Hudson Strait and Hudson Bay; large numbers can be seen feeding on Arctic cod on the shores of Cornwallis Island and Devon Island; whelps in large congregations on pack ice off Labrador in late winter; large numbers are found in Lancaster Sound in spring

Sensitivity - scientific evidence about reaction to vessels and aircrafts is lacking

Note - Some seals are taken each year by Inuit hunters.

Harp Seal (41 KB)Lancaster Sound Area
Distribution Maps:
Fall Scenario
Spring (Ice Scenario 1)
Spring (Ice Scenario 2)
Spring (Ice Scenario 3)
Summer Scenario
Coronation Gulf Area
Distribution Maps:
This species is not sensitive in this area, therefore no maps are presented.

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