Coronavirus restrictions may have forced people in Germany to stay at home, but that seems to have been a blessing for the country’s gray seal population, which has been developing since the beaches were cleaned. spring.
The number of gray seals in the Wadden Sea is increasing
According to a report by the General Wadden Sea Secretariat (CWSS), a total of 7,649 gray seals were counted in the Wadden Sea this spring – an increase of 17% compared to last year. The Wadden Sea is a stretch of intertidal flats in the southeastern part of the North Sea, which includes parts of the coastline of Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark, and is a popular tourist destination.
However, between March and May, many beaches in Germany and the Netherlands are off limits coronavirus restrictions placed to curb the spread of the virus. Experts believe that seals might benefit from a sudden reduction in visitors to the beach – allowing them to increase their numbers free of distractions.
However, this cannot be confirmed: “At present, we cannot say with certainty that the reduction in human activity in recent months, for example the lack of tourists on the beach, is responsible for the survey results,” said Sascha Klöpper, Deputy Executive Secretary of CWSS, adding that the group needs to conduct more in-depth research to determine the impact of the pandemic-related restrictions.
The seal population rose 300 percent in 12 years
Whatever the reason, what is certain is that the gray seal population has steadily increased since 2008, when environmentalists began counting seals. The latest report found that the numbers appear to have tripled over the past 12 years.
This is good news for the region’s biodiversity, because gray seals – the largest predator in the Wadden Sea – became extinct in the region centuries ago, as a result of excessive hunting. Only at the end of the 20th century this species traveled from British waters to reclaim the area. These latest figures show that the balance of nature is gradually being restored.
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