Saimaa ringed seal – the cuddly cutie from Lake Saimaa

Saimaa ringed seal is one gutsy guy

Saimaa ringed seal is a symbol of Finnish “sisu” (guts). Having lived in Lake Saimaa since the ice age (8000 years), it has survived near extinction and with the help of locals and persistent protection work, is now thriving having more than doubled its population in the recent years. This species can only be found at Lake Saimaa – being one of two species of fresh water seal in the world (the other lives in Lake Ladoga near the Finnish-Russian border).

Want to meet the rare Saimaa celebrity?

The Saimaa ringed seal sunbathing on a cliff is Lake Saimaa at its best. The easiest way to get a glimpse of this vivid and playful seal is a guided excursion. The excursions are organised by skippers who know the best places and are able to steer their boats quietly close to the seals without frightening or disturbing them.

The guides know how the seals live as well as their resting places best. Often on these excursions you will see also other rare species, such as osprey and other birds. Whether you choose Linnansaari National Park or the stunning waters of Puumala and Anttola as your destination and canoe or boat as your transport, with a guide you will have the best chance to admire these adorable animals at close range. And the stories these skippers have to tell – a trip you won’t forget.

Did you know this about the Saimaa ringed seal?

→ Saimaa ringed seal is one of the rarest seals in the world.

→ It lives in Lake Saimaa only.

→ The curvy figures on the Saimaa ringed seal’s fur coat are as unique as fingerprints.

→ In May, these adorable chubbies come to lie on cliffs to dry themselves to change their fur coat.

The Saimaa ringed seal archipelago becomes a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

The Saimaa ringed seals are Finland’s most precious natural heritage. This is why Finland is applying the seal’s habitat to be added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. UNESCO’s approval is important in protecting the endangered seal. The Saimaa ringed seals are likely to be on the agenda of the UNESCO World Heritage Summit in 2024. Lets hope for good decisions!

Book a Saimaa ringed seal excursion

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Accommodation – why not stay for a few more days?

Here are some tips for accommodation from which you can join a Saimaa ringed seal excursion.

See how you can get to Lake Saimaa

With this service you can plan your trip and buy your tickets easily and quickly. Compare the prices, travel times and duration as well as the environmental impacts on bus, train, flight, ferry and taxi, or your own car.