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Playful and inquisitive, seals have long been interested in humans – and humans have reciprocated that interest, falling for their beauty, grace, and charm as they frolic alongside our boats or loll on sandy shores. In this newest entry in the Animal series, Victoria Dickenson traces the history of our interaction with these beautiful, fascinating swimmers, from the centuries of hunting – in which people killed countless seals for their skin, oil, and meat – to the present, when the white-furred baby seal has become one of the most potent symbols of the need for ecological conservation. Along the way, she offers an approachable account of seal biology and behavior, and she delineates the threats they face from habitat destruction and climate change. Beautifully illustrated and packed with stories from folklore, myth, and history, Seal offers a richly immersive view of a much-loved, storied creature.
Victoria Dickenson is a historian based in Canada and the author of Rabbit and Drawn from Life: Science and Art in the Portrayal of the New World.