Canada: Days of the Long Knives

To a point, the harp seals of maritime Canada live fortuitous lives. The gray-tan harp—so called because of a harp-shaped black blotch on its back—cannot swim at birth and dies if whelped into the frigid ocean off Labrador. By a generous natural coincidence, however, whelping occurs just as spring thaws begin to break up the winter ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Taking advantage of the breakup, pregnant cows among the 800,000 harps make their way south. Swimming down the Labrador coast and through the Strait of Belle Isle, they enter the broad Gulf of St. Lawrence. In...

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