November 30, 2023
First gray winter seal pups born in England’s largest colony – and how to see them |  UK News

First gray winter seal pups born in England’s largest colony – and how to see them | UK News

The size of the seal colony has grown dramatically over the past 25 years thanks to the abundance of fish and the absence of natural predators.

Saturday, 18 November 2023, 00:14, United Kingdom

The first gray seal pups of the winter have been born on National Trust land on the north Norfolk coast.

Rangers at Blakeney Point have high hopes for another successful cub-rearing season for the colony, which has grown dramatically over the last 25 years to become the largest in England.

Latest estimates show around 4,500 cubs are born every year, the National Trust said.

In 2001, only 25 seal pup births were recorded on the beach, but that number is predicted to be born 180 times by mid-January.

The National Trust said the best way to see the gray seal colony is by boat, with tour operators based at Morston Quay in Norfolk.

The trust says it is also possible to see the colony by walking from Cley Beach.

The expansion of the colony is believed to be due to the abundance of fish for the gray seals to feed on in the North Sea and the absence of natural predators.

Photos: National Trust

The National Trust said its rangers and volunteers play a key role in supporting the seals by maintaining a regular presence on the beach.

This helps prevent the seals from being disturbed and gives rangers and volunteers the opportunity to share information with visitors.

Rangers help keep the beach clean year-round to provide a hospitable environment for seals.

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In September, volunteers helped by cleaning plastic and other waste from a two-mile stretch of Blakeney Point.

Rangers will be able to closely monitor the performance of gray seals this year, using a remote monitoring camera that will provide a continuous live video feed from the heart of the colony.

A gray seal cow with her calf. Photos: National Trust

Duncan Halpin, National Trust ranger on the north Norfolk coast, said: “The gray seal colony is in the early stages of its establishment this year and we are looking forward to following the progress of the colony and its new pups. , this winter.

“Over the next few months, Blakeney Point will be covered in gray seals as around 4,500 cow seals come ashore to have their pups.

“It’s a breathtaking sight and is a testament to the potential of our marine life to thrive when the right conditions and protection from disturbance are present.”

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Gray seals around Britain can also be found along the exposed rocky coasts of the north and west. They also appear in the South West and along the west coast of Ireland.

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