Rising seal populations in the Baltic Sea and a dwindling fear of humans means the aquatic mammals are beginning to enter Copenhagen Harbour in their hunt for food.
The water in and around the city has become clean enough to support fish populations, and their arrival has brought the seals with them.
Seals have been spotted just south of Langebro Bridge in the area known as ‘Ved Slusen’ and it is no coincidence that the seals are moving into the harbour areas, according to Sven Norup, a wildlife consultant with state nature agency Naturstyrelsen.
“The simple reason is that there are more of them. We can see on the population counts in the western part of the Baltic Sea that the population has grown from a few hundred to over 1,300 over the past 20 years,” Norup told DR.
The seal population on Saltholm, an island in the waters between Copenhagen and Malmö, has risen to an extent that seals are leaving the island in search of other places to live.
One reason for the seals venturing into the city waters is because they are a protected species which has led to them not being as afraid of humans as before. Norup likened seals to urban foxes, which adapt to humans once they are no longer hunted.
Last year a grey seal was shot after biting a woman who was kayaking near Roskilde, but Norup contended that the public should not fear the seals’ presence in the harbour.
Instead he maintained that city residents should be pleased that the seal population is healthy and that the harbour water is clean enough to support them.