The global population of Weddell seals has been variously estimated at 500,000 to one million or more (Erickson and Hanson 1990). This is a widespread species and, as with other Antarctic seals inhabiting the pack ice, population assessments are very difficult and expensive to conduct and therefore infrequently undertaken. Also, most past surveys do not account for seals in the water and unavailable for counting. To date a circumpolar survey has not been completed and reported. Published reports are limited to ship-based surveys of seals that produced a density estimate that is later extrapolated for the amount of land-fast sea ice present at the time (Erickson and Hanson 1990).
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