Next Wednesday, 19th of July, aac will perform at the Icelandic Seal Center. Join us an eclectic meeting of transplanted musicians hailing from Scotland, Iceland and Mexico. Improvising through textures and rhythms, their music will warp perception and expand the ear.
The concert will start at 20:00 and be around 40 min. and tickets will cost 2.000 kr. Light refreshments can be bought at the bar.
Seal watching spot Illugastaðir is now closed from 1. May till 20. of June because of the eiders nesting period. Please respect nature and this closing.
However there is no need to worry since Hvítserkur is still open. It is one of the biggest sealcolonies in Iceland. Take the path that goes straight to the beach. Seals are also often visible from the Vatnsnes-road specially during the low tide. Check out places where the road is close to the beach, like Hamarsrétt. For further information you can visit us at the Icelandic Seal Center in Hvammstangi.
A new paper about trends in the Icelandic harbour seal population was recently published. The title of the paper is “The Icelandic harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) population: trends over 40 years (1980–2020) and current threats to the population”. Sandra Granquist, Head of Seal research department and senior reseacher at the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute of Iceland is the author of the paper. Below is a summary of the paper (abstract) and a link to the paper.
Regular harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) population censuses are necessary to monitor fluctuations in the population size and to inform seal management. In this paper, the status of the Icelandic harbour seal population is presented, along with trends in the population over a 40-year period. In total, 13 full aerial censuses were carried out during the moulting season (July-August) between 1980 and 2020. The most recent census from 2020 yielded an estimate of 10,319 (CI 95%= 6,733-13,906) animals, indicating that the population is 69.04% smaller than when systematic monitoring of the population commenced in 1980 (33,327 seals). The observed decrease puts the population on the national red list for threatened populations. Trend analyses indicate that most of the decline occurred during the first decade, when the population decreased about 50% concurrently with large human-induced removals of harbour seals. After that point, the population decline slowed down but continued, and currently the population seems to fluctuate around a stable minimum level. The sensitive conservation status of the population underlines the need to assess and sustainably manage current threats to the population, including human-induced removals, anthropogenic disturbance, and various environmental factors such as contaminants, climate change and fluctuation in prey availability. Furthermore, it is urgent to continue regular censuses and to increase monitoring of population demographic factors.
A new paper titled Gender difference in biospheric values and opinions on nature management actions: The case of seal watching in Iceland was published in the peer-reviewed journal Ocean & Coastal Management. It can be accessed here. It was written by Cécile M. Chauvat, who works for the Northwest Iceland Research Center in collaboration with the Icelandic Seal Center, Dr.Sandra M. Granquist from the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute and Head of the seal research department at the Icelandic Seal Center, and Dr. Jessica Aquino, Assistant Professor in the department of Rural Tourism at Hólar University.
Abstract Gender differences in biospheric value orientation and opinions on wildlife management have the potential to be used as a management tool in wildlife watching settings. This research note builds on a dataset from Chauvat et al. (2021) to investigate gender differences in biospheric value orientation and opinions on seal watching management of visitors at seal watching sites post hoc. Questionnaires (n = 597) were collected at three sites in Northwest Iceland. It was found that when genders were compared, women had stronger biospheric value orientations, were more aware of potential anthropogenic impacts on seals, believed to a higher extent that regulations were useful in terms of decreasing impact, and were more positive towards most management actions suggested in the questionnaire. It is argued that further understanding of the gender dynamics regarding pro-environmental attitudes may be a valuable element in the context of sustainable wildlife tourism management.