2020 Spotted Seal Scientific Synchronous Observation Outcomes: The Number of Wild Population is Less Than 500 | CBCGDF CCAfa System
2020/4/16 13:45:00 本站

From March 28th to April 1st, 2020, the 2nd National Wild Spotted Seal Synchronous Observation was jointly launched by China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) Community Conservation Area (CCAfa) system, Alxa League Daliao Center and North China Center.


The scientific and synchronous observation of population quantity of spotted seal was carried out with the participation of many NGOs, scientific research departments and relevant institutions in China. This scientific research is also part of citizen science, aiming to more scientifically grasp the real population of spotted seals in China, and provide basic information for the protection of spotted seals, climate change, biodiversity protection, and human relations.


The selection time of spotted seal synchronous observation is just at the end of their breeding. At this time, the basic population of the spotted seal is concentrated in the reef, elastic beach, and gravel beach, and they are in the centralized hair changing stage, so the observation data is relatively stable.


Based on the experience of the 1st observation last year, the spotted seal habitat area is divided into:


1. Panjin Area

2. Yingkou City, Jinzhou City

3. Dalian City

4. Shandong Province


During the observation process of the regional planning actually claimed, the observation teams of all parties made appropriate adjustments according to the actual situation: The northern region of Bohai Sea, Lvshun and Huping Island, Jinpu District, Changhai District, Changdao District at Shandong Province, Tangshan District, Gaizhou District, Wafangdian District, and other areas.


According to the data in 2019, there are 1,010 spotted seals in the aquarium (announced by Chairman Han at the 2019 annual meeting of marine wildlife protection), including 30 purchased spotted seals from Russia by Tianjin in 2019. There are more than 1,040 spotted seals in captivity. The total number of captive and wild spotted seals is about 1,500. Therefore, the population of captive spotted seals is several times of that of wild spotted seals.


In 2020, the total number of spotted seals observed by the observation team at four observation points in the north of Bohai Sea is 185, including about 66 in Huping Island (Lvshun), 60 in Yellow & Bohai Sea No. 1 observation point (260 in 2018 and 160 in 2019), 10 in Shandong Province, and 1 in Changhai and other areas. According to incomplete statistics, from December 2019 to now, the number of rescued spotted seals is 16. The data also shows that the number of cubs and sub-adults of spotted seals is decreasing year by year. Xu Weiwei, the Senior Statistician of the observation team, said that it may be due to factors such as the lowest level 1 of Bohai Sea ice in 2020 caused by climate warming.


This time, there are 338 spotted seal populations under scientific and synchronous observation in China. Due to the influence of objective factors, the areas not monitored are involved. Therefore, according to the scientific estimation, the total number of wild spotted seals in China is less than 500 in 2020. The population number is the same as that of wild green peafowl, which is less than that of the giant panda and Crested Ibis. In addition, since the Yellow Sea and Bohai Sea spotted seal populations and other spotted seal populations do not conduct breeding exchanges, they should be listed as a separate species like the oriental white stork. Therefore, CBCGDF suggests that the protection level of the spotted seal should be increased, that is to say, it should be upgraded to be a national first-level protected wild animal.


Precautions for observation and protection of spotted seals:


1. Protection of the habitats and breeding grounds for spotted seals.

2. During observation and protection, UAVs, aircraft and large motorboats shall be used with caution;

3. Scientific research observation and tourism projects.

4. Strengthen the co-management of the communities. LNT method shall be adopted for patrol activities;

5. 5. Replace those in the reserve (especially the core area) with natural education or environmental education.




1. This observation is for the Yellow Sea and Bohai Sea’s spotted seals (in a narrow sense, the Liaodong Bay spotted seals), excluding the fur seals, bearded seals, harbor seals, Ringed seals and northern walruses in this area. At the same time, other seals accidentally lost in the south of Lianyungang in the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and the South China Sea are not included in the observation scope. Affected by the COVID-19 epidemic situation, the sea area of Baengnyeongdo (North Korea and South Korea area) is not within the scope of this synchronous observation.


2. The population number of wild spotted seals observed synchronously in this year and last year is consistent with the data actually observed by spotted seal experts Xu Jian and Han Jiabo, which the data published in the 6th issue of Chinese National Geography Journal in 2009.






(Photo credit: CBCGDF volunteers)

Original Chinese article:


By / Xue Tongtong Modified / Niu Jingmei