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From seals to belugas, scientists describe worrying signs for Arctic ‘sentinels’ – CBC

by ahnationtalk on December 6, 2019125 Views

Current population estimates for seals and beluga remain stable in the Arctic

Dec 06, 2019

Scientists attending a national gathering of Arctic researchers are outlining a widening range of climate change risks for so-called “sentinel” species, such as ringed seals and beluga whales, which have sustained Inuit for millennia.

The ArcticNet conference happening this week in Halifax comes in the wake of a scientific committee advising that ringed seals be listed under the federal Species at Risk Act.

“This small seal needs sea ice to thrive,” states the opening line of the executive summary released last week by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, or COSEWIC.

Reduction in sea ice due to climate warming is expected to reduce the birthing grounds for ringed seal pups, and as a result the species is predicted to decline over the next three generations, the summary continued.

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