Seals on ice in Makkovik harbor.
Pictures via Barry Andesen of Makkovik
I hear there are a lot of seals up on the ice this year. Hopedale and Makkovik are reporting many; some say they have never seen as many “crawlers” as this year. They are called “crawlers” because they have come up on the ice for some sun, their holes freeze over and they can’t get back into the water. Seals are then prone to attach by predators and become easy targets for humans. One hunter from Hopedale shot 19 in a short period of time.
Some theories to why this is happening. Some say it is due to a lot of the older seals being taken in the annual harp seal hunt south of here. The older seals become leaders and younger ones learn and follow the older seals. Lack of older “lead” seals leaves the younger ones without the skill sets to survive, like making sure you have holes in ice to get back in the water in case of danger. One chap reiterated that; once before some seals were trapped on the ice, so some kind people cut holes for the seals to get back into their natural environment. Trouble was that the good samaritans did not know that the seals front flippers had frozen prohibiting then from swimming, so many of the seals drowned.