Kingdom: Anamalia (Animals)
Pusa is a genus of three species within the family of True seals, which family contains nineteen total species. The genus Pusa contains the following three species:
The Caspian seal is the only mammal found in the Caspian Sea, and it is near the top of the food chain. For the past 200 years, humans living around the Caspian Sea have killed seals for their blubber and for the lanugo fur of newborn pups. Currently around 60,000 Caspian seal pups are caught annually for their fur. They are listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This is for several reasons: loss of food by commercial fishing, toxic pollution, habitat destruction, human disturbance, disease and commercial exploitation.
While the Ringed seal is a very common species, two of its five its subspecies (based on geography) are under considerable stress:
- Lagoda Ringed seal: Found in Lake Lagoda in western Russia: has seen a significant decline in population throughout the 20th century and seems to have a population of 3000 to 5000 individuals now. Bycatch deaths in commercial fishing is a significant problem for this subspecies. Hunting of seals in Lake Ladoga has been banned since 1980.
- Saimaa Ringed seal: Found in Lake Saimaa in Finland, this subspecies exists now only in small numbers (probably around 250 to 300 individuals, up from less than 200 in the 1980s) and is considered threatened with extinction. This subspecies has been protected since 1955.
Baikal seals are endemic to Lake Baikal in Southern Siberia, Russia (near the Mongolian border) and are found only this lake and connecting rivers.
Ringed seal. Source:Steve Amstrup/USGS
| Conservation Status || Conservation Status || Conservation Status |
- Pusa caspica (Gmelin, 1788) Encyclopedia of Life (accessed May 20, 2010)
- Pusa sibirica (Gmelin, 1788) , Encyclopedia of Life (accessed May 20, 2010)
- Pusa hispida (Schreber, 1775) Encyclopedia of Life (accessed May 20, 2010)
- Pusa caspica, Easley-Appleyard, B. and P. Myers., 2006, Animal Diversity Web (accessed May 20, 2010)
- Pusa sibirica, Harrold, A., 2002, Animal Diversity Web (accessed May 20, 2010)
- Pusa hispida, Felcher, C., 1999, Animal Diversity Web (accessed May 20, 2010)
- Caspian seal, Seal Conservation Society (accessed May 20, 2010)
- Baikal seal, Seal Conservation Society (accessedMay 20, 2010)
- Pusa hispida, Seal Conservation Society (accessed May 20, 2010)
- Pusa hispida, IUCN REd List of Threatened Species (accessed May 20, 2010)
- Pusa sibiric IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (accessed May 20, 2010)
- Ringed seal, MarineBio.org (accessed May 20, 2010)
- The Pinnipeds: Seals, Sea Lions, and Walruses, Marianne Riedman, University of California Press, 1991 ISBN: 0520064984
- Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals, Bernd Wursig, Academic Press, 2002 ISBN: 0125513402
- Marine Mammal Research: Conservation beyond Crisis, edited by John E. Reynolds III, William F. Perrin, Randall R. Reeves, Suzanne Montgomery and Timothy J. Ragen, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005 ISBN: 0801882559
- Walker's Mammals of the World, Ronald M. Nowak, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999 ISBN: 0801857899