Climate Action

Saving our oceans starts with seals

Orkney, Scotland



In the last ten years alone, the Harbour Seal population in Scotland’s Orkney Islands has decreased by 70%. For Bernie McConnell, the Deputy Director of the Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St Andrews, it’s ringing all sorts of alarm bells.

Mollie (@wheresmollie) caught up with Bernie and his team to see how they’re working closely with Marine Scotland to halt the decline – and how mobile technology is helping them identify where the seals are feeding and whether their food source, or lack of it, is the problem.

Co-created with Vodafone, a ‘mobile phone’ with a GPS tracker is harmlessly glued to the fur on the back of the seal’s neck and detaches during the annual moult in August – giving Bernie incredible insights into their feeding habits.

We all know that our actions are having a global impact on the planet, but for Mollie, seeing it up close and personal made her aware that the implications are very real.

Making its way around the world, the Case For Change is packed with everything people need to tell their stories on what mobile operators globally are doing to tackle the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Vodafone’s support of Bernie’s efforts in the Orkney Islands contributes to SDGs 9, 13 and 14 by enhancing conservation and promoting the sustainable use of ocean-based resources.

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Scotland 58.9809° N, 2.9605° W

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