Winter "Family Beach" of the Baikal Seal

Фото: Евгений Доманов, участник фотоконкурса РГО «Самая красивая страна»

The employees of the National Park "Podlemorye Reserve" in Buryatia filmed an interesting video with seals swaying on round Baikal ice floes.

In December, winter already reigns supreme in the Baikal taiga, covering the mountains with snow, and bringing about severe cold winds. But Baikal itself has not yet been covered with an ice shell. The lake basin has accumulated a huge baggage of warmth over the summer and does not give in to the winter cold. Only along the coast, on the rocks and even on the sand, there is fancy ice lace. Rustling sludge and separate round ice floes are swaying near the shore on the waves of Lake Baikal. For their round shape, such ice floes are sometimes called "pancakes".

The Baikal seal, an inhabitant of the protected Ushkan Islands, does not lose heart on the eve of a long winter. The video shows the animals swaying cheerfully on the ice "pancakes" as if on a swing. Seals are nimbly diving into the harsh icy water, then getting out on the ice floes again and settling down on the "pancakes" in whole groups, which include both mothers and cubs. This "family beach" on swaying ice floes can be watched for hours.

The employees of the national park claim that seals warm themselves on ice floes after swimming in icy water. Lake ice and rocky islets in the lake are a reliable shelter for the Baikal freshwater seal. Seals hardly ever come to the shore of the lake, fearing bears, for whom they are a welcome delicacy.

The Baikal seal is one of three freshwater seal species in the fauna of the world. It is a protected endemic to Lake Baikal. Hunting for the Baikal seal is prohibited. You can admire the funny animals by arriving in the National Park "Podlemorye Reserve" in the summer and visiting the Ushkan Islands.