PROTECTION STATUS: Bearded and ringed seals declared endangered in 2012; spotted seals listed only in China and Russia


RANGE: Arctic and subarctic waters including the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas off Alaska

THREATS: Global warming, oil and gas development, the proliferation of shipping routes, ocean acidification, fishery bycatch mortality, oil spills, ocean noise pollution, hunting, ocean contamination, human disturbance

POPULATION TREND: Accurate abundance estimates for all three seal species are lacking, but previous estimates are of more than a million ringed seals worldwide, perhaps 750,000 bearded seals, and perhaps 250,000 spotted seals. Though the specifics of population trends are difficult to determine, it is evident that all three species have experienced or are experiencing population declines.


Photo of bearded seal courtesy Flickr/foilistpeter