Bearded Seal

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Scientific Information

The Bearded Seal (Erignathus barbatus), also called the Square Flipper Seal, is a medium-sized pinniped that is found in and near to the Arctic Ocean. The species name "barbatus" means bearded and refers to its most characteristic feature, the conspicuous and very abundant whiskers. When dry, these whiskers curl very elegantly, giving the bearded seal a raffish look. Distinguishing features of this earless seal include square fore flippers and thick bristles on its muzzle. Adults are greyish-brown in colour, darker on the back; rarely with a few faint spots on the back or dark spots on the flanks. Occasionally the face and neck are reddish-brown.

The Bearded Seal reaches about 2.25 m (7.4 ft) to 2.7 m (8.9 ft) in nose-to-tail length and from 275 kg (606 lb) to 340 kg (750 lb) in weight. Both sexes are about the same size.

Community Information



Ugzruk (Adult)

Akłunaaksraq ("Teenager")

Anmiaq (Young)

Spoken Name

Young Ugzruk "Teenager"

Relevant Site Information

The bearded seal is the most important subsistence resource to our community. We never waste any part of it. Traditionally, hunters drink seal oil so they wont get hungry right away. Seal oil can also be used to relieve ear aches and can clean the body like a laxative. We eat most of the bearded seal but we usually throw away the head or use it for dog food.

Parts of the Bearded seal- Ugzruk:

Head- Niaquq- throw away, or use as dog food

Neck- Quŋusiq- dried

Arms- Tallik- hang and ferment

Ribs- Tulimat- hang and fermented

Heart- Uuman- cook

Liver- Tiŋuk- cook and is fermented

Intestine- Ilġawk- cook or half dried and fermented Long ago we would take the outside membrain (Qiaq) off and blow in it, then hang to dry for a raincoat.

Kidney- Taqtu- cook

Diaphram- Ilupak- dry

Loin meat- Panaaluksrauraq- dry

Stripped meat- Aguaviniq

Stomach- Imaŋuġik- hang and dry later you cook and put in seal oil

bladder- Aġġutaq- Clean, blow, and dry for a linch bag

Lungs- Puak-dry

back bones- Kuyapigak

Flippers- Sitqut

Fermented Flippers- Usrraq

Leg bones- Tivayaaq-Hang or buried under ground

Blubber- Taŋiġuuk-fermented

Skin- Natiksraq- made into hard sole bottoms for slippers

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