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This winter, a record number of baby seals have been spotted on a five mile stretch of coast in Norfolk. So far, 3 796 seal pups have been born and 1 169 adults have been spotted by volunteers. The number of seal pups born have almost doubled since the winter of 2019-2020 when only 2 069 pups were born.
“It is a sign of a healthy colony. It’s down to the fish. At the moment the North Sea is providing enough fish for thousands of seals and this is a nice place for them to come ashore and do their breeding,” Peter Ansell, the chair of Friends of Horsey Seals, said to The Guardian.
About half of the entire world’s population of grey seals lives on the British coastline and Norfolk is a very important breeding area. Every winter, the seal populations living between Waxham and Winterton attracts thousands of visitors.
“They are very popular with visitors, which is funny because they don’t really do anything. They come ashore and flop down and every few hours the pup nudges the mum for a feed,” Ansell explains.
Ever since 2012, Friends of Horsey Seals have been looking after the population in Norfolk. This particular growing colony is particularly vulnerable to human disturbance because the beaches are easy for tourists to reach, The Guardian writes. In order to make sure visitors can watch the adorable animals without disturbing them - volunteers carry out shifts during the pupping season to avert dogs and people from getting too close to the pups.
Picture: Joe Giddens/PA via The Guardian