Written by Mart Jüssi, www.promare.ee
Photographed by Kaido Haagen, www.kaidohaagen.com
Time to get to the rock. The ice of Väinameri did not last until end of April which was normal in the past and the rug is literally being pulled from under the animals. April is a very important month in the lives of ringed seals – it is the month of moulting. Even aquatic animals need to go through this transformation once a year and there are many benefits for doing it on the ice in the warm April sun. Sunbeams create the essential vitamin D in the skin and it makes the ringed seals feel all nice and warm. But not too warm, laying on the cool ground helps to avoid overheating which is very dangerous for marine mammals. Now it`s time to find a proper rock in some remote cove and grow new fur there. As the sun is vital for hair growth, the animals are out of the water every possible moment when the weather is nice, which also makes it possible to count them. Usually this is being done from a plane above the icefields, but one must try different tricks now.
Ringed seal pups have finished the suckling period, springtime shoals of spawning fish provide rich meals and a chance to practice eating like a seal.