Aller au contenu principal du site

National Geographic «Inside the fragile world of Québec's harp seals», by Jennifer Hayes

On parle de nous

When you walk on sea ice, it’s easy to forget that there’s an ocean below you. This frozen world is stripped down to essentials: impossibly blue sky, bright sun bouncing off a blanket of fresh snow, wind that vibrates like a cello, whiteness all around.


Welcome to the harp seal nursery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, located off the Magdalen Islands (Îles-de-la-Madeleine), Québec. Given its importance as one of two Northwest Atlantic harp seal whelping grounds, the area is one of Nat Geo’s Best Trips for 2020. Adult seals migrate here from the Arctic, the pregnant females searching for suitable ice on which to give birth. Harp seals are an ice-obligate species; they require a stable sea platform of ice for pups to survive. Born on the ice in late February and early March, the pups nurse for 12 to 15 days before being left on their own. The young seals are among the most captivating creatures on the planet, with obsidian eyes, charcoal noses, and cloud-soft fur.