Mar. 23, 2023

Bohai Sea spotted seal's habitat threatened by excessive land reclamation

Bohai Sea spotted seal's habitat threatened by excessive land reclamation

From: 11 April, 2011

Seal pup (Photo property of owner: Quan Shui)

10 April, the DaLian Environmental Protection Association and the YuRan Public Welfare Organization held an event to protect the spotted seal.
DaLian's first national level protected wetland area is located on ChangXing Island's HuLu Mountain Bay National Park. At present, there are only 2000 spotted seals left in Bohai Sea. They are a level two nationally protected animal.

The seals’ breeding grounds are on Changxing island north of Yingkou. Photographing these seal pups is extraordinarily rare, so photos like these two are quite precious. To get to the ice floes in Bohai sea, photographers had to rent an icebreaker ship at the rate of 9000 RMB an hour. The fee to take the boat out for a short inspection of the island can easily reach 100,000 RMB.
Unlike Canadian seals, Dalian's seals are being threatened by land reclamation projects encroaching on their natural habitat. The so-called Hulu Mountain Bay National Park area is in the STX Corporation's development area.  According to a 2009 report by the Dalian City Department of Oceanography, the two most seriously polluted places in the Dalian bay area are Dalian bay itself and Changxing island. The areas surrounding the reclamation project are severely affected. The Pu Bay district land reclamation project contains more than 10 square kms, and the Jinzhou bay reclamation area will exceed 20 square kms.

At the same time, many oil companies have set up business in the wide area between Songmu Island and Changxing island, which is the spotted seal's breeding ground.
Not far from Hulu Mountain Bay, there is a “beautiful” cooling tower (Hong Yan He nuclear power plant). The surface of the ice from here to Yangkou is all breeding ground for the striped seal.
Hongyanhe is a nuclear power plant located by the sea. It is set to be activated next year and it will be the biggest nuclear power plant in the world. Due to its use of large amounts of sea water for coolant, it will raise the average temperature of the surrounding sea by a few degrees. This will threaten the spotted seals with extinction.
We currently rely on individuals to not accept the present state of affairs which threaten the spotted seal and help protect the animals and their habitat.
Every year, a large number of fish and shrimp are released into the Bohai sea from hatcheries, which has already had a profound impact on the ecology of the area. A limited number of fish and shrimp could help restore the environment, but if this continues during the long-term, these fish and shrimp will make the spotted seal go the way of the panda...

It is apparent that the biggest threat to the spotted seal's survival is the destruction of its natural habitat.

Today in Dalian, it's thanks to the efforts of environmental tourism specifically aimed at protecting the spotted seal that they have been able to last. In particular, there are some high-class hotels that have claimed the fame of caring for their own spotted seals.

Dalian Yuran is an organization focused on protecting the seals, but the city of DaLian does not currently approve of popular organizations, making the task of protecting the seal a complicated issue.



Translator: Mark Skinner

Proofreader: Angela Merriam



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