The Saimaa Ringed Seal
Ringed Seal is the most threatened seal species in the world. Its
habitat comprises the Lake Saimaa water system in Finland. The Saimaa
Ringed Seal got isolated from the Baltic Seal (Pusa hispida bothnica)
living in the Baltic Sea some 8,000 years ago and became a subspecies
of its own.
The Saimaa Ringed Seal has become threatened as a result of human
actions. In the past, the biggest threat was legal hunting of the
seal still allowed at that time. Now the threats include drowning
caused by fish nets and human disturbance caused by water traffic
as well as destruction of habitats that are important for the seal
by building close to shoreline. The number of Saimaa Ringed Seals
is today a mere 270 individuals.