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Friday, April 6, 2012

What an ice smile: Adorable two-week-old seal pups show their playful side under the watchful eye of their mother

By Chris Parsons Open wide: A baby seal pup opens its mouth while sitting on the pack ice in Quebec, Canada Smiling for the camera and basking in their newly-discovered surroundings, these adorable baby seals are any wildlife photographer's dream. The young seal pups appear to enjoy their surroundings near the Gulf of St Lawrence in Quebec, Canada, even more thanks to extra thick ice which is helping them survive. Normally very few of the seal pups last long in the area due to thin ice, which many blame on global warming. Are you looking at me? A baby harp seal looks at photographer Eric Baccega's camera as it works out its new world in Canada Play time: This seal pup is still getting used to his slippery surroundings after being spotted rolling on its back off the Magdalen Islands I've got my eye on you: The seal pup's mother keeps her youngster close by as she shows her offspring their new surroundings But when photographer Eric Baccega spotted the youngsters with playing with their mother, he was able to take to the thicker pack ice and capture the wonderful moment perfectly. Eric snapped the tiny three-day-old 'yellowcoat' pups and two-week-old 'whitecoats' being suckled by their caring mother. After 14 days the seal pups have lost their white coats and have piled on the pounds thanks to the richness of their mother's milk. Cull: Canada has continued killing harp seals under each year under its controversial seal hunt laws and despite protests from animals rights groups Motherly love: The adult seal inspects her youngster during one of its first outings on to the ice near the Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec What's down there? A female harp seal reaches the surface at a breathing hole and touches noses with her adorable young pup in another intimate wildlife shot Reaching the surface: Each year authorities set a quota for the number of seals which are allowed to be killed in Canada Saying hello: A brave seal pup gets up close and personal with a tourist in her icy new home Usually weighing somewhere around 40-45kg, they are then abandoned by their mothers to survive alone in the cold waters of the Gulf of St Lawrence. It is at this time that they are also allowed to be killed under rules laid down as part of Canada's controversial seal hunt. Each year a quota is set - normally hundreds of thousands - detailing how many animals are allowed to be killed. source:dailymail


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