Jennifer Hayes. Harp Seal Pup.

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A harp seal pup seeks shelter from the relentless winds that scour the sea ice covering the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Harp seal pups are born on the sea ice covering the Gulf of St. Lawrence in late February. They are nursed for 12-15 days to increase their body fat before the mother abandons them to mate and migrate northward.

The pups have to learn to swim, eat and learn what to eat on their own. Natural mortality is high and extremely high in years that reflect higher than normal temperatures that cause weak ice formation and early ice breakup beneath seals that too young to survive. 

Jennifer Hayes is a contributing photographer, author and speaker for National Geographic Partners. She is a scientist turned storyteller submerging 11,000 hours beneath the surface from interior Africa, local ponds to the Pacific and both polar regions. Her work has been featured on NPR,  ABC Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight, National Geographic TV, Wild and Disney Channel.

Follow Jennifer on Instagram @jenniferhayesig.

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