April 18 2014 Latest news:
Friday, January 31, 2014
A record number of grey seal pups were born on Blakeney Point this winter despite the devastating tidal surge.
■2001/02 - 25
■2002/03 - 50
■2003/04 - 80
■2004/05 - 100
■2005/06 - 175
■2006/07 - 213
■2007/08 - 278
■2008/09 - 413
■2009/10 - 579
■2010/11 - 747
■2011/12 - 933
■2012/13 - 1,220
■2013/14 - 1,566
Only two of the white coated creatures, out of 1,566, were separated from their mothers by the severe weather on December 5 and 6.
They were taken to the RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre after they were found at Morston and Cley Beach car park. The mammals will remain at the centre until they are strong enough to survive on their own - they were displaced before being fully weaned.
Ajay Tegala, coastal ranger for the National Trust on the north Norfolk coast, said: “We are thrilled the number of seal pups born has gone up each year. We are amazed it has continued to grow. The tidal surge was the only thing that concerned us but seals are resilient.
“After the surge everyone was nervous because we could not get to the point for a couple of days. When we went out on the boat there was a feeling of elation when we saw them.”
The first pup was born on October 30 last year and the final ones were born earlier this month.
In 2001/02, when grey seal pups began breeding on the national nature reserve, 25 were born. In 2012/13 there were 1,220 pups.
Mr Tegala, 24, said the number of pups born on the point this winter was the third highest in England.
The beauty spot which attracts thousands of tourists each year was beaten by the Farne Islands in Northumberland with 1,575 and Donna Nook in Lincolnshire with 1,676.
Other sites include Horsey and areas of Cornwall.
Mr Tegala said the western tip of the point where the colony breeds was good for pups because there were lots of sand dunes, nooks and no natural predators.
He added it was a joy to witness the drama of a seal colony and described working on the reserve as “special”.
The ranger said the best way to see the creatures during winter or adult seals in the summer was by boat.
If anyone sees a seal or seal pup in distress call 01263 740241 but do not get too close.