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Phoca vitulina

Tidal Energy Project
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Domain Eukarya
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Carnivora
Family Pinnipedia
Genus Phoca
Species vitulina
COMMON NAME: Harbour Seal
56K version
A Seal Underwater, West Race Rocks
Seals on the
West Shore
Birthing location and baby seal
Seal by Ryan harbour seal haulout Harbour Seal, Phoca vitulina
This has to be our favourite harbour seal picture.. taken by Ryan Murphy, LBPC student from Newfoundland when he was back doing a project in the summer of 2002 In the summer, the South East bay is often populated by harbour seals. In this view taken in July, 2005 from the tower, you can count at least 25 seals.

Hi resolution image..1.9Mb

This shot is from the tower of the south bay by PB, Sept. 14 2007, the seals can be seen swimming underwater.
Harbour Seal, Phoca vitulina Harbour Seal, Phoca vitulina Harbour Seal, Phoca vitulina
Harbour seals on the south intertidal island, Sept. 2007 Photo of a seal on a rock behind the energy centre. Photos by PB, Sept. 14, 2007
South Islands with Harbour seals
A panorama of the seals on South Islands in June.. photo: GF
At RaceRocks,the Harbour seqals are year round residents,although their numbers peak in mid summer to over 400. They have pups on the island from March to July. This file shows what happens if boat traffic is too fast in the ecological reserve or around any seal haulout area,
Seal eaten Seal eaten
The cause of death of this seal is unknown.It could have been hit by a boat. It had been providing food for an eagle several days before this picture was taken: see video:

The total harbour seal population in the eastern north Pacific is estimated to be  330,000, and in California the estimated population was 40,000 in 1997.  They usually are found in small groups, but sometimes occur in numbers of up to 500.

RANGE/HABITAT:  Harbour seals are found across the Northern Hemisphere in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  In the Northeast Pacific, they range from Alaska to Baja California, in Mexico. They favor near-shore coastal waters and frequent sandy beaches, mudflats, bays, and estuaries.

Harbour seals spend about half their time on land and half in water, and they sometimes sleep in water.  They can dive to 1,500 feet (457 m) for up to 40 minutes, although their average dive lasts 3 to 7 minutes.  They are opportunistic feeders and hunt for sole, flounder, sculpin, hake, cod, herring, octopus, and squid.

DESCRIPTION:  Harbour seals have spotted coats in a variety of  shades from silver gray, black to dark brown.  They reach 5 to 6 feet (1/7-1.9 m.) in length and weigh up to 300 pounds (140 kg).  Males are slightly larger than females.  They are true, or crawling seals, having no external ear flaps.  True seals also have small flippers, and must move on land by flopping along on their bellies.

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The Race Rocks Taxonomy
This file is provided as part of a collaborative effort by the students, volunteers and faculty of
Lester B. Pearson College
Dec. 2001 Damion J. Wilson PC yr.27
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Garry Fletcher