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"Hey! This is MY Coat!"
Harp seal pups are born with a fluffy white coat to both help hide them from predators and keep them warm until they can build up a layer of blubber and develop the darker, thicker pelt that protects them in icy Arctic waters.
The white fur only lasts until the pups are 2-3 weeks old, and it makes the little guys look as cute as can be - but seal hunters want it.
The killing of "whitecoats" for their fur was a big part of the Canadian seal hunt, but in response to public opinion, the European Economic Community banned the import of whitecoat products in 1983. This resulted in a drop in the number of seals killed.
The hunting of whitecoats has been banned in Canada since 1987, but it is still permitted for personal use. Nevertheless, in 1997 a conservation group reported that up to 20,000 whitecoats had been killed and illegally sold, and in Russia, sealers usually only kill whitecoats.
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Library: Animals, Arctic
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Seal Hunt Pictures: Viewer Discretion Advised
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GUIDE TO ARCTIC SUNRISE & SUNSET: How much sunlight or darkness is there in the Arctic on each day of the year?
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