Update: It is now known that 263 seal pups have been lost from the beach at Horsey Gap, after tidal surge hit Norfolk coast

Breeding grey seals on the beach at Horsey in Norfolk.
Seal pup on the dunes
December 2011
Picture: James Bass Breeding grey seals on the beach at Horsey in Norfolk. Seal pup on the dunes December 2011 Picture: James Bass

Friday, December 6, 2013
5:21 PM

It is now known that 263 seal pups have been lost from the beach at Horsey Gap, where the National Trust has offered support to the Friends of Horsey Seals, who manage the monitoring of the colony.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

A National Trust spokesman said: “Our staff share the sadness many people may feel about the impact on the seal colonies. It is now imperative that we allow these wild animals to respond to this natural event and for the remaining pups to be found by and reunited with their mothers.

“Any human interference at this stage could be very damaging to the remaining seals and pups.

“We strongly urge that if visitors to the Norfolk coast come across any seals or pups in the aftermath of the tidal surge, please, do not attempt to move them or encourage them to return to the sea. The pups are safer on land until they shed their distinctive white fur.”

National Trust ranger teams were unable to assess the impact to the seal colony at Blakeney National Nature Reserve, because it was impossible to access Blakeney Point.

Grey seals begin arriving at Horsey beach every November, giving birth over two or three months before leaving in late January or February.

For the first few weeks of their lives, grey seals pups cannot swim as they are born covered in white fur which is not waterproof. As they grow, feeding on about three litres of their mother’s milk a day, they shed their fur and soon head into the water for fish for themselves.

In the past decade, the number of seals born on Horsey has risen from about six to about 600 in 2012/13 and now, every festive season, thousands of people head to the beach to see the animals in the wild.

10 comments

  • We visited 2 weeks ago, and the wardens were very friendly and helpful. We were warned to not approach a very large bull seal on the main beach, but were able to take photos from a safe distance. That was sensible advice, as he was very vocal and clearly quite aggressive. Very sad that so many of the pups have died, but that's nature for you.

    Report this comment

    Carol Bolton

    Friday, December 6, 2013

  • If anyone comes across any seals or pups in the aftermath of the tidal surge, please, do not attempt to move them or encourage them to return to the sea. The pups are safer on land until they shed their distinctive white fur. The seals are wild animals and it is highly likely that any pups separated from the colony will be found by their mothers.

    Report this comment

    EastEnglandNT

    Friday, December 6, 2013

  • Its sad, but hopefully some could get into the dunes plus it is a natural event which naturally controls their population. Each year they have been doing better and better at Horsey so it shouldn't affect their population too much i shouldn't think.

    Report this comment

    Ben Moore

    Friday, December 6, 2013

  • Its sad, but hopefully some could get into the dunes plus it is a natural event which naturally controls their population. Each year they have been doing better and better at Horsey so it shouldn't affect their population too much i shouldn't think.

    Report this comment

    Ben Moore

    Friday, December 6, 2013

  • Are we sure these seal are here legally, with the correct EU paper work? These so called baby seals with their big sad eyes could easily be taking the jobs of our local seals or worse scrounging fish benefits!

    Report this comment

    Paul Morley

    Sunday, December 8, 2013

  • we found one on caister beach this morning, all watched and encouraged to make its way back to the sea rather than on the path where he wanted to go. hope they are all found and tracked down soon x

    Report this comment

    Kelly Brown

    Friday, December 6, 2013

  • Surely it would have been better to temporarily move the seals off the beach and put them back at the weekend. This was done further up the coast so don't understand the inaction of the National TrustFriends of Horsey Seals on this as there was a weeks notice of the tidal surge?

    Report this comment

    Master_Mates

    Friday, December 6, 2013

  • Have you ever tried moving a seal? Let alone several hundred of them. And where do you think they might be moved to?

    Report this comment

    Casey

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

  • That's maybe because friends of horsey seals are more concerned with telling people where they can go and what they can do, whilst on a public beach. Just like the arrogant guy in a fluro jacket that I met down there last year.

    Report this comment

    Duncan Holmes

    Friday, December 6, 2013

  • Oh Dear Me...never make a drama out of a crisis!! its NATURE no global warming no nothing ,just NATURE,in all its forms

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Friday, December 6, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Norfolk Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 17°C

min temp: 10°C

Five-day forecast

loading...

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT