“Sea Wolves” of the St. Lawrence
In French, seals are sometimes referred to by the old term “loups marins“, or sea wolves, which in some regions is associated with a specific species, and which is generally attributed to the resemblance of their vocalizations with those of wolves. At times, in places where they congregate to rest such as Île Rouge or Île Blanche, one can hear the loud cries of gray seals; hearing these genuine howls is akin to listening to a pack of wolves in the middle of the forest.
On the water, the sizable gatherings of gray seals are hard to miss, even if only their heads and imposing snouts are visible sticking out of the water. These seals are massive: the largest males can tip the scales of 350 kg. That’s enough to intimidate harbour seals (males of which weigh about 100 kg) with whom they often share rest areas on the rocks or tidal flats. Harbour seals are observed as they while away the time on boulders in the Fjord. A young harbour seal comes as a surprise to the GREMM team as it is spotted in the middle of a herd of belugas off of Île aux Basques.