Life of sea mammals in the White Sea and their problems
Deterioration of sea animal populations now is observed in the White Sea. It is connected both with direct long-term hunting and with deterioration of ecosystem of the White Sea: pollution and contamination decrease fodder resources. The majority sea mammals are harmless and are disposed to the man with friendliness, but as all of them have something valuable. And this creates a threat to the existence of these species. Lost species cannot be recreated. Their disappearance is irreplaceable loss because they support ecological balance of the ocean. Now it is difficult even to imagine completely tragically consequences of this balance violation in future. Loss of biological diversity influences the natural development processes within ecosystem. Nature’s chance to restore itself is weakened and important aesthetic and cultural values are lost. The ecological catastrophe has affected seal population in the White Sea. Number of Greenland seals cows reduced and as the result the population of seals began to grow old. Now the reason of sharp abbreviation of the number of seals is clear: an ecological catastrophe. The researches have shown, that approximately each the fourth of every hundred of seals has such amount of the swallowed plastic subjects (packages in main) in the stomach, that the stomach can not normal digest food, and these animals are doomed on destruction. Sometimes seals with scraps of nets on head, trunk, flippers are found. At times strong synthetic fibres literally cut bodies of the animals. At last, seals are in danger because of chemical pollution of the sea. Some years ago dangerously high levels of mercury were detected in organisms of seals. A source of it in the White Sea is the integrated pulp-and-paper mills. Their drains without serious clearing get in the rivers, and therefrom in the sea. Besides, seals have nothing to eat after the man has taken out fish from this reservoir. It is doubtless, that ecosystem of the White Sea is put out of action on many years. Sometimes even nature is unkind to the seals. For example in 1997 the ice was broke up on the White Sea too late and in this connection a lot of little seals found themselves on the streets of Severodvinsk sometimes rather far from the seashore. Kind-hearted townspeople fed up kiddies with fish, drove away stray dogs. Thus they have saved majority of the animals. But the man is the main seal’s enemy too. Every year when solar rays and sea currents break ice, the neck of the White Sea turns into seal "maternity hospital". It was long before the appearance of small producer's co-operatives here. It was always such a way and not only in the White Sea. Once a year in three points of globe tens of sousands of Greenland seal cows scramble out on the ice to give birth to one baby animal each. First two weeks mother-seals raise their babies with incredibly nutritious milk. Baby animals grow very quickly, put on weight. The pelt of seal baby-animals is exclusively because of its snow-white fur. And when at the age of two weeks they begin to lose their white fur covering with thick golden tabby fur, they become not so valuable. The hunters have to hasten, because sea-hunting campaign in the throat of the White Sea lasts no more than 10-15 days. Hunters kill baby-animals in different ways. They strike seals with hooks or knock their heads against an ice. The baby-animals cry out like kids. They raise their heads to look at the man for the first and for the last time in their fleeting life. The picture is monstrous. The pure ice is covered with loathsome red spots of blood. Even water is in red patterns. Hunters pull down lifeless carcasses in one place, than load them in special nets and helicopters carry load in the direction of Nignaya Zolotitsa. Here hunters flay seals and preserve pelts in saturated salt solution. Bleeding carcasses they dump in huge heaps. That is the price of seal fur coat. I think that murder of defenceless seals is quite inhuman and is similar to the killing of children. This is problem not only for Russian North, but may be only in Russia government doesn't try to solve it. I know that economy is of great importance in the struggle for animals saving. And that it is impossible to help animals not helping native population without taking into consideration their interests. It is necessary to convince indigenous people that ecological tourism being skilfully organised can produce a profit. Ecological tourism is the most real way to save these beautiful animals. This undertaking involves investments, but it will be rewarded and covers the expenses. For example, ecological tourism is very popular in Canada. People armed with cameras and videocameras arrive to Magdalene islands by helicopters to observe newborn seals in natural conditions. Baby-animals let people come near so close that it is immense pleasure for amateur and professional photographers of the seals. Government of Canada is in possession of information showing that maximum income of seal baby-animals hunting even in most successful years did not exceed 50 000 dollars. And now ecological tourism receipts exceeded 1,2 million $ and more than 400 000$ of them entry the budget of Magdalene islands. This fact indicates that seals are more valuable when they are alive. I gave this example to show that animal need to be taken under protection, under indefatigable care, before their number will reach a critical level. Strictly speaking, even consecutive animal number reduction (if it does go in the limits of natural variations) is a disturbing signal. The process of extinction can be stopped only at early stages. Guarantee of species saving is correct definition of this moment and timeliness of the accepted measures. Unfortunately very often people ignore this and don't take into consideration. And meanwhile the shots of the poachers thunder, the streams of petroleum are overthrown in the sea. Waiting for the moment when an animal will become rare, we thus completely lose possibility to rescue it in the future.