There has been a sharp increase in the number of harp seal sightings in New England waters over the last 10 years, although scientists aren’t sure why.
Roughly 9 million harp seals can be found in the Northwest Atlantic off the coast of Canada and Greenland. But a decade ago it was rare to see one as far south as Maine. But those numbers have been rising. And this year there have been 40 documented harp seal sightings in Maine, and well over 100 harp seal sightings throughout the Northeast, according to an article on Seacoastonline.com.
Gordon Waring, the head of the seal program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries science center in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, said there is no clear explanation for why more harp seals are showing up in U.S. waters. However, he says that the seals could be making their way south because of climatic conditions or to search for food.