Studies of the ringed seal (Phoca hispida Schreber 1775) in its breeding habitat in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard
AbstractThis study was conducted in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard, from mid-March through April 1984. Local Greenland sled dogs were used to locate subnivean ringed seal lairs. A total of 90 lairs were found and excavated. Thesc constituted 28 lairs classified as birth lairs, 22 as tiggak (rutting male) lairs. and 40 which could not be classified. The first birth lair was found on 24 March. There was significantly more snow covering birth lairs than tiggak lairs, and birth lairs were also shown to be significantly larger than tiggak lairs. The positions of the lairs wcre plotted on a map, and distances between neighbouring seal lairs were used as an indicator of territorial size. Arctic foxes had attacked 19 lairs and 6 of these had resulted in a kill (32%). Polar bears had attacked 13 lairs with one kill (8%).
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