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Saimaa Seal LIFE : Safeguarding the Saimaa Ringed Seal


The Saimaa ringed seal is an extremely endangered seal species only found in Saimaa, a large lake complex in eastern Finland. There are slightly over 300 individuals currently in the wild. The most severe threats to the seal population are fishing and disturbance during breeding. Saimaa seals also need snow and ice to dig their lairs and climate change also poses an increasingly serious long term threat. A Finnish national conservation strategy and action plan for the Saimaa ringed seal was adopted in 2011, in order to improve the conservation status of the species.

Using a diverse range of measures, the project promotes the safeguarding of the Saimaa seal and the efforts to reach a favourable conservation status of the species. The Saimaa Seal LIFE project implements the Saimaa seal protection action plan, drawn up under the leadership of the Ministry of the Environment and in broad-based cooperation with the key stakeholders.

Project information

Metsähallitus Natural Heritage Services, Southern Finland

South Savo Regional Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment; University of Eastern Finland; Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute; Finnish Association for Nature Conservation; WWF Finland; Finnish Federation for Recreational Fishing and University of Turku

Source of funding
Life+ programme

Reference information



conservation, fishing industry‚ endemic species‚  freshwater ecosystem‚  environmental assessment


2013 - 2018

Climate impacts

Ice and Snow


Adaptation Measures and Actions, Adaptation Plans and Strategies


Biodiversity, Marine and Fisheries

Geographic characterization


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