It takes care and compassion to save the life of an animal in need — but sometimes a power tool, too.
A fisherman in Finland named Tarmo Tolvanen is being hailed a hero this week after he came to the rescue of a critically endangered Saimaa ringed seal who had become stranded on the icy surface of Lake Saimaa. It is believed that the animal had been stuck there for days after bitter cold temperatures caused his entrance into the water to freeze over rapidly, leaving him trapped.
Fortunately for the seal, Tolvanen came equipped with a way to resolve this dire situation.
Biologist Tero Sipilä told Finnish news outlet Warkauden Lehti that the seal would have died without Tolvanen’s intervention. Typically, these seals spend the winter months protected in snowy dens, but a lack of adequate snowfall has left them with no other option than to spend most of their time in the water.
Saving the life of this one seal is no small matter. Saimaa ringed seals are the world’s most endangered seal species, numbering only around 300 individuals in their one and only native habitat: Lake Saimaa.