The numbers are in for the 8th annual seal census. In all 706 seals were spotted in a 100 km stretch of beach in northwest Iceland, reports RÚV.
“We counted 706 this year which is similar to last year,” said biologist Sandra Granquist. “We counted 705-707 last year so [the numbers have] been pretty much the same in the last 3 years.”
The census was conducted by employees of The Icelandic Seal Centre as well as a number of volunteers who arrived in the early hours of Sunday morning to help count. The census helps scientists keep track of how many seals are in the area, where they congregate and allows them to monitor the seal population over time.
“We walked across Vatnanes and Heggstaðanes to count seals,” said Sandra. “Then everyone met up to deliver their results and have some coffee and kleinur.”
As reported, seals are an uncommon sight at best in the capital area, but it is not unusual to spot them in the waters off of Iceland’s northwest coast. The Seal Centre in fact identifies nine species of seal that one can find around Iceland, including the walrus. Only two species – the grey seal and the harbour seal – are native to Iceland, however, and their numbers have been declining.