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After 2 years without ice, the harp seals were back to give birth in the Gulf of St Lawrence in Eastern Canada in March 2012. Eric Baccega was able to photograph the ^yellowcoats^ (upto 3 days old) and the ^whitecoats^ (4 - 14 days old) being suckled by their mothers. After 14 days, the seal pups lose their white coats and, having reached a weight of 40-45kg due to the richness of their mother's milk, they are abandoned by their mothers to survive alone in the cold waters of the Gulf of St Lawrence.

In the previous 2 years, no harp seal pups survived in this area, as the ice was too thin to allow the female harp seals to give birth on it. If rising temperatures continue to melt the spring pack ice in this area, the harp seals will have no alternative but to move to more northerly areas to breed. In spite of the thinning pack ice, the harp seal population remains at a healthy level of more than 8 million, and a cull of more than 300,000 seal pups is allowed each year by the Canadian government.

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Portrait of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Portrait of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Portrait of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Portrait of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Portrait of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Portrait of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Portrait of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Portrait of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Portrait of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Portrait of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Yawning Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Yawning Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) surfacing at a breathing hole in the sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) surfacing at a breathing hole in the sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) surfacing at breathing hole looks at her pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) surfacing at breathing hole looks at her pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) surfacing at breathing hole and touching noses with her pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) surfacing at breathing hole and touching noses with her pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) touching noses with her pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) touching noses with her pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) touching noses with her pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) touching noses with her pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) with suckling pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) with suckling pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Aerial view of Harp seals (Phoca groenlandicus) hauled out on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Aerial view of Harp seals (Phoca groenlandicus) hauled out on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Aerial view of Harp seals (Phoca groenlandicus) hauled out on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Aerial view of Harp seals (Phoca groenlandicus) hauled out on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Aerial view of Harp seals (Phoca groenlandicus) hauled out on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Aerial view of Harp seals (Phoca groenlandicus) hauled out on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Aerial view of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) female and pup hauled out on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Aerial view of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) female and pup hauled out on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Tourists taking photographs of a Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) on sea ice, with helicopter in background, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Tourists taking photographs of a Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) on sea ice, with helicopter in background, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Tourist watching Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Tourist watching Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Portrait of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Portrait of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) with suckling pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) with suckling pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Portrait of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup rolled on back on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Portrait of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup rolled on back on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Portrait of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup rolled on back on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Portrait of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup rolled on back on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Portrait of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Portrait of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Portrait of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Portrait of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Portrait of a female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) at a breathing hole in the sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Portrait of a female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) at a breathing hole in the sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Portrait of a female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) surfacing at breathing hole in the sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Portrait of a female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) surfacing at breathing hole in the sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Two female Harp seals (Phoca groenlandicus) by a breathing hole, one on the sea ice and one surfacing , Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Two female Harp seals (Phoca groenlandicus) by a breathing hole, one on the sea ice and one surfacing , Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Two Harp seals (Phoca groenlandicus) reacting aggressively towards each other, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Two Harp seals (Phoca groenlandicus) reacting aggressively towards each other, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Two Harp seals (Phoca groenlandicus) reacting aggressively towards each other, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Two Harp seals (Phoca groenlandicus) reacting aggressively towards each other, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Two female Harp seals (Phoca groenlandicus) behaving aggressively towards each other, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Two female Harp seals (Phoca groenlandicus) behaving aggressively towards each other, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) with head poking through a breathing hole and  pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) with head poking through a breathing hole and pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) surfacing at breathing hole touches noses with her pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012. - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) surfacing at breathing hole touches noses with her pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012.
Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) touching noses with her pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) touching noses with her pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) looking at her pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) looking at her pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) with pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) with pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) with young yellowcoat pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) with young yellowcoat pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) looking at her pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) looking at her pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) female with pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) female with pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Close-up of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandica) pup suckling on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Close-up of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandica) pup suckling on sea ice, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) with suckling pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) with suckling pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) with suckling pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Female Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) with suckling pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Female Harp seals (Phoca groenlandicus) reacting aggressively towards another female's pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Female Harp seals (Phoca groenlandicus) reacting aggressively towards another female's pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Female Harp seals (Phoca groenlandicus) reacting aggressively towards another female's pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Female Harp seals (Phoca groenlandicus) reacting aggressively towards another female's pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Female Harp seals (Phoca groenlandicus) reacting aggressively towards another female's pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Female Harp seals (Phoca groenlandicus) reacting aggressively towards another female's pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
Portrait of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012 - Eric Baccega
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Eric Baccega / Portrait of Harp seal (Phoca groenlandicus) pup, Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence, Quebec, Canada, March 2012
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