Seals of East Greenland

The ringed seal

The ringed seal, is the smallest species. Characteristic of its skin are the ringed markings, primarily on the dark-grey back. It mainly lives in fjords where there are icebergs and in the areas where the sea freezes during winter. Even though the sea-ice is up to two metres thick, the ringed seal is able to keep a number of breathing holes open and thus survive.

The harp seal

The harp seal is the most numerous species in East Greenland. It comes to East Greenland around June on its way north from the breeding grounds in New Foundland. On sailing trips in the fjords and in Denmark’s Strait one can see groups of up to 20-30 harp seals frisking on the surface of the water.

The hooded seal

The hooded seal is the second largest of the four species, with a weight of up to 300 kg. The males can be recognised by the large bladder on their heads, which, when angry, they can inflate to the size of a ball.

The bearded seal

The bearded seal is the largest of the four species up to 400 kilo. It’s rare in East Greenland, but can be found along the entire coast. The skin has no pattern and is greyish/brownish in colour. The bearded seal likes to live around drift ice, but gives birth to its young every year on the fast ice in April-May.

These four species of seals live in the fjords and along the coast of East Greenland. It should be emphasised that none of these are threatened with extinction due to hunting. Learn more about hunting here

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