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April 19, 2021

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Bred harbor seals released in sea

Five harbor seals born in captivity and three rescued wild seals were released into north China’s Bohai Sea on Friday as part of Dalian city’s efforts to replenish the wild population.

The five artificially bred seals are still young and required some preparation for life in the wild. Before their release, they underwent a month of training on hunting live fish, thus increasing their chances of survival, according to Tian Jiashen, of the Liaoning Ocean and Fishery Science Research Institute. “The released area is located near the natural habitat of harbor seals, which will help them to integrate into the population,” Tian said.

The released seals are equipped with satellite tracking markers to monitor their migratory routes and preferred resting places, while helping to evaluate the impact of releasing the artificially bred seals into the sea, said Tian.

Harbor seals are on the national first-class protection list in China. Every winter and spring, harbor seals migrate from the Pacific Ocean to the Bohai Sea and the northern waters of the Yellow Sea near Dalian in Liaoning Province to give birth on the surface of sea ice and raise their young.

The number of harbor seals in the area decreased sharply between the 1980s and the mid-1990s due to pollution and poaching. With tightened efforts, the number of seals in the bay area has reached about 2,000 and is on the rise.


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