Before birth the female seal, cow, is highly aggressive toward any seal which happens to come close to her birthing patch. After birth she will continue to protect the area, not the young but the area fore this is her place of rest. She demonstrates a lack of protection for the young by leaving it for long periods of time and only returning to rest herself or feed the pup which occurs approximately six times a day. Even during these times the mother, dame, will only interact with the pup long enough to feed it, after which she displays indifference to its existence. It has been reported that only one in roughly one thousand dames will stay to protect their pup when people approach.

While the pup is alone it will fight with any other pups which happen to wander close. They do not frolic and enjoy each others company. In reality, harp seals are indifferent to the existence of other seals and display more annoyance at their company rather than enjoyment. Just because an animal has a herd designation does not mean it is a highly social creature. Mainly, the only exception to this rule is during breeding season and interaction under water such as feeding.

Harp seals have one of the shortest maternal nurturing periods of any marine mammal. At about 12 to 15 days old the pup is abandoned by its dame. The pups soon begin to moult and are referred to as a "raggedy jackets". At this point sealers can kill them but prefer to wait until the new fur is "fast", roughly 33 days old. After the pup has been abandoned by its dame and it becomes acclimated to the water, it heads north with the rest of the herd. It is an individual and does not rejoin its dame or have any type of family structure.
 
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