It is unequivocally irresponsible and wrong to go too close to a rock lying on a rock.
Harri Ekholm criticizes in its opinion (HS 1.6.) Connections of WWF and the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation to “ring safaris” in Saimaa. In the writing, the accusations were directed at environmental organizations. We want to correct the argument: WWF and the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation do not organize commercial ring safaris or cruises themselves.
Both organizations have collaborated to varying degrees with two different cruise entrepreneurs. Criteria for responsible movement in Saimaa have been discussed with entrepreneurs and they have been instructed to move without disturbing the ring. At the same time, information about the Saimaa ringed seal and its conservation has been distributed to cruise customers. In cases of cooperation, the cruise entrepreneur has donated part of his income to the organizations’ Saimaa ringed seal work. These cruises also ensure that the appropriate distance to the ring is kept and that they are not disturbed.
Ekholm wrote about a serious problem, namely the disturbance of Saimaa ringed seals during the spring hair change. The interest in the ringed seal is a good thing and it strengthens the protection of the Saimaa ringed seal and its habitat, ie Saimaa. But interest also has its downsides and side effects.
The problem areas of ring tourism are being addressed in the ongoing Joint Saimaa ringed seal Life project. The project connects with entrepreneurs, creates responsible criteria for tourism and develops information and communication.
It is unequivocally irresponsible and wrong to go too close to a rock lying on a rock. Responsible nature tourism is always done with respect for nature and without disturbing the animals.
We appeal to everyone who moves on Lake Saimaa: Rotate the rest stones from afar, binoculars from a longer distance, do not publish ringed images from which the place is recognizable, and observe the ringed seal earlier in the spring from WWF’s Ring Road.
Saimaa ringed seal expert
Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, Lappeenranta
Regional Manager, WWF Finland, Taipalsaari
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