Mammal Species of the World's Boreal Forests


Phoca groenlandica
Harp Seal


Distinguishing Features - Length: 1.6 - 1.7m; weight: 130 kg. Overall colouration: light grey with large harp-shaped ring on the back; ring on the back is dark brown to black (less distinct in female, with back mostly black); faces are black (but not heads); pups (pictured here) are white. Body shape, thiner with noticeable neck when compared to other seals.

Harp Seal Habitat

North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans from northern Russia, to Newfoundland and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada.


Arctic cod, capelin, decapods, amphipods, crustaceans, and pelagic fish.


Harp Seals are hunted annually to cull populations, mainly to benefit fisheries. There are varied theories about the decline of the North Atlantic Cod. Some blame the growing numbers of Harp Seals.

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