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78 Saimaa ringed seal pups found in lair counts 2018

5/8/18

The Saimaa ringed seal lair counts in April 2018 revealed 78 pups, 4 of which were dead. Most of the 100 people who took part in the counts were local volunteers.

Photo: Metsähallitus / Sirpa PeltonenAccording to Conservation Biologist Jouni Koskela from Metsähallitus, Parks & Wildlife Finland, the past winter was characterised by a weak ice situation. After the ice formed it was covered by a layer of snow, which led to uneven freezing. The poor ice conditions meant that the lairs had to be checked over a short period of time – just one week instead of the normal two weeks.

A more precise count of the pups will be obtained later in May when divers can access the lairs. The poor lair counting conditions led to many uncertain observations. Divers will search the nests for placentas, which prove that a pup was born at the site.

This year, two pups were born outside the springtime restriction areas on net fishing – in Puruvesi and Paasselkä. In order to ensure that these pups survive their first months, the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment will try to reach an agreement on net fishing restrictions with the fishery partnerships.

Springtime fishing with nets is limited to an area of 2,680 km² in the seals´ habitat in Saimaa. The best way to ensure the recovery of this highly endangered species is to prevent Saimaa seal deaths in fishing nets.

"The birth of the pups is a sign that protection is producing results and the Saimaa ringed seal can return to its former habitats," says Senior Advisor Tero Sipilä.

The Saimaa ringed seal is one of the most endangered and rarest seals in the world. There are slightly under 400 Saimaa seals in the world, and they all live in Lake Saimaa. Due to land uplift after the Ice Age, the Saimaa seal became isolated from other ringed seal subspecies more than 9,000 years ago. The Saimaa seal is Finland's only endemic mammal.

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National Park Bringing New Feeling of Optimism to Hossa

by Fran Weaver, August 2017

Lenny Daly of the local firm Hossan Lumo feels that the new Hossa National Park provides ideal settings for the trendy outdoor activity of SUP-boarding. The Daly family's dog Vicky is also on board. Photo: Maija Daly, Hossan Lumo

The opening in June 2017 of Finland's 40th national park at Hossa, to mark the centenary of the Finland's independence, has been a great boost for local entrepreneurs offering services related to nature tourism and outdoor recreation. New jobs and income are very welcome in this part of Finland's north-eastern borderlands, between the towns of Kuusamo and Suomussalmi.

The clear waters and sandy shores of Hossa National Park are particularly popular among paddlers. Visitors can rent kayaks from local firms or join guided paddling tours to discover the park's highlights. Photo: Hannu Huttu / Metsähallitus

Local firms are already providing a wider range of services for increasing numbers of visitors with different interests. The small family firm Hossan Lumo, run by locally born Maija Daly and her Irish husband Lenny Daly, rents out equipment including fat tyre mountain bikes, kayaks and SUP-boards, while also offering cosy cabin accommodation and lovely lakeside locations for tents and caravans.

Lenny Daly feels that Hossa provides ideal settings for many popular outdoor pursuits. "Hossa's clear blue lakes are great for paddling, and Finland is now also catching on to the international boom in SUP-boarding," he says. "The trails along Hossa's sandy ridges are likewise ideal for mountain biking or hiking." 

Hossa Reindeer Park gives visitors to the nearby national park a chance to get up close to reindeer. Raili Karvonen brings tasty snacks out to some of the park's residents. Photo: Sini Salmirinne

Maija Daly believes that especially for foreign visitors, Hossa's new status as a national park makes it much more attractive than its previous designation as a hiking area. 

"There's a new feeling of optimism as interest in Hossa increases, and people are getting keen to branch out and start new businesses and activities."  

Joga instructor, wilderness guide Saija Taivalmäki is one of the new entrepeuneurs working in Hossa National Park. Photo: Raili Takolander

National parks, national hiking areas and other protected areas provide the visitors with unforgettable moments, best sceneries and hiking and skiing facilities. Read more about the self-guided tours.

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