First grey seal pup born on Blakeney Point
PUBLISHED: 06:30 01 November 2013
Nature lovers are celebrating after the first grey seal pup has been born on a north Norfolk beauty spot.
The adorable creature, with its fluffy white coat, arrived on the western end of Blakeney Point on Wednesday morning.
It was spotted by National Trust seasonal assistant ranger Paul Nichols, who took the photograph, and is working on the Point to monitor the seal colony.
The number of seal pups born on the Point has increased from 25 in 2000 to 1,223 last year.
Victoria Egan, National Trust countryside manager for the north Norfolk coast, said: “It looks like a healthy seal pup. Generally after the first pup is born more seal pups are born quite quickly.”
She added typically people liked to see the pups, born between October and January, in the winter because of the animals’ white coats and because they are “cute”.
But Mrs Egan recommended point visitors to give the animals a wide berth; to keep dogs on leads around the wild creatures; and stay out of the fenced off areas.
“We would recommend people take the boat trips from Morston Quay to see the seals. The key message is about people being able to enjoy them but not getting too close to them,” she added.
Anyone who spots a young seal on its own on a beach over the pupping season should not get too close, as it may be resting, but if anyone has concerns call the RSPCA hotline on 0300 1234999.
The seal pup birth was expected and the animal will keep its white coat for between three and four weeks until it is fully weaned.
After its weight increases to between 30-40kg and its white coat is replaced with a waterproof layer, it can then go in the water, with its mother.
Seal pups generally return to where they were born - females live for an average of 30 years and bull seals live for about 20 years.
Following the birth, twice weekly counts of pups will be made on the Point by rangers and volunteers.
There are still spaces on a grey seal pup guided tour on December 7 at 9am. It costs £12 per adult and £8 for anyone aged under 14.
Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blakeney/things-to-see-and-do/events/ for more information.
For updates on the pups follow @NorfolkCoastNT on Twitter or visit www.nationaltrust.blogspot.co.uk.