The ringed seal inhabits the Arctic and sub-arctic, and is fairly small rarely growing to more than 1.5m long.
It is the most abundant and widest ranging seal in the Northern hemisphere (it has 2 freshwater subspecies that live in Northern Europe). It is thought to have a global population of around 2 million.
They are one of the primary prey of both polar bears and killer whales.
There are 5 recognized subspecies (3 have been eradicated, as being to similar to others).
The two fresh water subspecies are found in lakes, one in lake Lodoga in North-western Russia – with a population of 2000-3000 (down from 20,000 in 1900), and the other in lake Saimaa in Finland – the 4th largest in Europe with an area of 1600 square miles with a current population of around 400 individuals. They have been cut off from other ringed seals for around 9500 years. In 1955, the population was thought to be around 150 so it has grown nicely, but whether its population will be allowed to grow any further is anyones guess.