Nature - Robert Downie
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Harbour Seal on Ice

A pregnant harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) rests on some sea ice in LeConte bay waiting to give birth. The icefields produced by the LeConte glacier provide protection for the seals to give birth and nurse their pups. Floating on the ice isolates them from the numerous land based predators (such as bears and wolves), while the shear density of the floating ice provides protection from pods of orcas (killer whales) who have difficulty breaking though the ice pack. Populations of seals that rely on ice pack to reproduce are particularly susceptible to global warming due to retreating glaciers and rapidly decreasing winter sea ice. Alaska, USA

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