GNF - Why Nerpas are weeping

Why Nerpas are weeping



The Baikal seal, also known as Nerpa, is the symbol of Lake Baikal and one of the most popular endemic animal species. Despite official hunting ban, particularly young Nerpas often become victims of poaching. Visitors and locals often lack knowledge and information on this rare animal species. 


On photos Baikal seals look as though they are crying – The project "Why Nerpas are weeping“ with focus on the popular Baikal seal provides answers to this question. Besides seminars for teachers and pupils and a competition for young people, a modern interactive exhibition in the Buryat Nature Museum will be organised in Ulan-Ude. There, young and old have the opportunity to turn into the young seal Kuma and dive into the water to explore the underwater world with their eyes. The realisation of this project was made possible through the support of the Ethikbank.

Project Objectives

The overall objectives are, on the one hand, information and sensitisation of children, adolescents and adults from Ulan-Ude and surroundings, on the other hand, information of visitors about the cultural and natural values of Lake Baikal and the necessity of protecting the lake.


Concrete Objectives

  • Protection of the Baikal seal through environmental education and strengthening the ecological awareness;
  • Establishment of an interactive museum exhibition;
  • Information about the role of the Baikal seal in the Lake Baikal eco-system;
  • Improvement of knowledge about the natural world of the Baikal region;
  • Promotion of respect towards Lake Baikal and the natural values in general and education in sustainable use of natural resources;
  • Promotion of children‘s skills using different handicraft materials.

Project Activities

1. Establishment of a Museum Exhibition

The exhibition will show a realistic seal resting place and a real pup as well as a winter hole with a young seal. The exhibition will provide details on the way of life, nutrition, procreation and protection of the seal.


2. Preparation and Implementation of Interactive Encounters with visitors. Museum staff, together with GRAN experts, will develop a series of interactive technologies to make the Baikal seal more attractive to children. Young museum visitors will have the opportunity to change into the young Kuma seal, dive into the water and explore the underwater world themselves. Young guests may take part in different handicraft workshops as well as in creative games and competitions. Films about the Baikal seal will be shown as well. The young seals playground will inspire many children to visit the magic Lake Baikal.


3. Organisation of an Educational Seminar for Teachers and Workshops for Pupils. Experts in museum pedagogy from Moscow, GRAN experts and staff of the nature museum in Ulan-Ude will be involved in the preparation of the educational seminars. 


4. Preparation and Publication of a Brochure about the Baikal Seal. It is planned to publish three brochures for small children: "Where do seals live? "What do seals eat?“, "Why do I change my colour?“. Additionally, two info flyers about the protection of the Baikal seal shall be distributed.


5. Analytical Part – Summary, evaluation, monitoring of the impacts on the ecological awareness of the museum visitors.   


The exhibition on the Baikal seal will significantly contribute to promote the value of nature, environmental protection and environmental education. Every year, about 20,000 visitors are expected, about 35,000 children and adolescents shall take part in the planned activities. 


The exhibition can be used for different educational activities relating to Lake Baikal: Ecological Festival – Water Day, Lake Baikal Day, Day of Environmental Protection, lectures, topic related field-trips.


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May 2013 – April 2014




Baikal Information Center GRAN