International Day of the Seal Date in the current year: March 22, 2024

International Day of the Seal International Day of the Seal, also known as International Seal Day, is observed annually on March 22. It was created to celebrate one of the cutest marine mammals and raise awareness of the importance of seal conservation.

Seals, also known as pinnipeds, are carnivorous, fin-footed, semi-aquatic, mostly marine mammals that comprise the families Odobenidae (whose only extant member is the walrus), Otariidae (eared seals), and Phocidae (earless seals or true seals). There are 34 living seal species, most of which inhabit polar and subpolar regions.

Seals spend most of their lives in water, preferring cool waters (although some seals live in tropical and subtropical waters) and marine environments. They come ashore to molt, mate, give birth, or escape from marine predators such as orcas and sharks. Seals are carnivores that feed primarily on marine invertebrates and fish, although a few larger seal species can feed on other seals, penguins, and other large vertebrates.

Seals have been depicted in various cultures for thousands of years. For example, Celtic and Norse mythology has selkies, mythological creatures that look like seals but can turn into humans by shedding their skin. Sedna, the goddess of the sea and its inhabitants in Inuit mythology, is depicted as a mermaid whose lower body is that of a seal. Icelandic priest Sæmundr fróði is believed to have traveled from Europe to Iceland on the back of a seal (or, to be more precise, the Devil in the form of a seal).

Almost one third of all species of the seal are classified as threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature: seven are ranked “Endangered” and three are ranked “Vulnerable” on the IUCN’s Red List. Two seal species, the Caribbean monk seal and the Japanese sea lion, have become extinct over the past few decades.

Seals are affected by many threats, including commercial fishing (they can accidentally swallow fishing hooks or get caught in fishing nets), marine pollution, habitat destruction, increased underwater noise levels, climate change, poaching, and conflicts with humans. Commercial seal hunting used to be so detrimental to seal populations that today it is restricted to ten countries and heavily regulated.

The origins of International Day of the Seal are somewhat murky: some sources claim that it was declared by the United States Congress in 1982, but we failed to find the corresponding resolution (although we did find a reference to International Day of the Seal on the Congress website). Be that as it may, there is no doubt that seals deserve our attention and protection.

On the occasion of International Day of the Seal, many zoos, aquariums, and conservation organization host events to celebrate the seal and promote its conservation. You can celebrate the holiday by attending one of such events, checking out a seal exhibit at your local zoo it if has one, reading a book or watching a documentary about seals, participating in a campaign against seal hunting, or donating to a seal conservation organization. And don’t forget to share cute pictures or videos of seal on social media with the hashtags #InternationalDayOfTheSeal and #InternationalSealDay to spread the word.

Remind me with Google Calendar


International Observances, Ecological Observances, Unofficial Holidays


International Day of the Seal, International Seal Day, international holidays, environmental observances, unofficial holidays