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The population of grey seals on Great Blasket island, Ireland's biggest grey seal colony, is "poised on a precipice", and has been reduced drastically in just 50 years, according to a … Hunting significantly reduced the grey seal population in the 1800s. In 1960 there were about 8,000 of the seals in Atlantic Canada, but since then the population has grown exponentially, and there are now estimated to be over 400,000. Ireland has a special responsibility towards the well-being of Grey seal colonies, with half the European population found around the country's coast. However, they’ve made a comeback with an estimated 120,000 grey seals now flourishing throughout the UK. This makes up 40% of the global population! “That means that the grey seal population between Ireland and the UK is incredibly valuable from a global perspective.” While the grey seal population is on the up, the number of common seals is on the decline, which Melanie explains is likely due to disease outbreaks, limited food sources and the effects of climate change. The existing population estimate for grey seals in Ireland is outdated and urgency exists to establish a reliable national population estimate for this species, listed as an Annex II species under the EU Habitats Directive. Its name is alternatively spelled Grey seal and it is also known as Atlantic Grey Seal.. In Northern Ireland grey seal numbers are also flourishing. The UK population of grey seals dropped to only 500 individuals in the early 20th century, predominantly due to persecution. In Britain and Ireland, the Grey Seal breeds in several colonies on and around the … They almost went extinct in Ireland in the early 1900’s due to hunting, but these protections have allowed their numbers to start to recover. Research has found that there are 4,007 harbour seals, a 15 per cent increase, and 3,698 grey seals, a rise of 25 per cent, around Ireland’s coast. In Ireland, the status of both the grey seal and harbour seal is favourable given the current knowledge of the species population size, distribution, ecology and prevailing pressures on these species (NPWS, 2013). Established in 1964, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has evolved to become the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species. There are frequent calls for culls of grey seals, particularly in Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland, by fishing interests who claim that seal predation is the reason behind reduced fish stocks and that a reduction in the number of grey seals would result in an increase in the amount of commercially landed fish. The Grey Seal is a large seal of the family Phocidae or ‘true seals’. It is the only species classified in the genus ‘Halichoerus’. The status of Ireland's grey seal population and its relationship with that of Britain and Western Europe, are poorly understood. The Grey Seal is found on both shores of the North Atlantic Ocean.. Common Seal Phoca vitulina Rón beag The 'Common', or Harbour seal, as it is also known, is mainly an inshore animal, frequenting inlets, estuaries and unpolluted harbours. It is estimated that there is currently a population of around 8,000 – 10,000 Grey seals in Irish waters, and a world-wide population of approximately 300,000, which is fewer than African Elephants.

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