National Marine Conservation Areas of Canada
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Canada’s National Marine Conservation Areas System Plan
Ringed seal (Phoca hipsida)
© Parks Canada / Dorothea Kappler, 1995
The most common seal in the Arctic and found essentially everywhere north of 60° latitude, ranging the ice-bound coasts. Smallest of the seals, both sexes are only about 1.4 m long and weigh up to 90 kg. As the sea freezes, the seals use their teeth and claws to make breathing holes in the ice, keeping a watchful eye out for polar bears as they come up to breathe. Females dig a lair in the snow over landfast ice to bear their young and use a hole in the floor to come and go unseen.