Dead seal pups found on Heacham beach nothing untoward, expert says

Dead seal pups have washed up on beaches in Heacham and Hunstanton. Picture: Eve Howard

Dead seal pups have washed up on beaches in Heacham and Hunstanton. Picture: Eve Howard - Credit: Archant

The discovery of four dead seal pups on the coast of West Norfolk is not unusual for this time of the year, experts have insisted.

Suzy Levy, 43, from Heacham, was walking her dog along South Beach in the town when she came across the dead seal pups on the afternoon of Monday, June 3.

She said she is concerned that the bodies are being left on the beach when there are animals and children nearby.

'I was walking my dog literally for only 200m, I didn't go that far and it wasn't a very long stretch of the beach,' she said.

'It may just be a seasonal thing but there seems to be a lot more wildlife being washed up and it's a health hazard.

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'There were lots of little children around there and the seals were completely rotten, I couldn't let my dog off the lead.

'If people are reporting dead animals then the council should take them away before animals and children get to them.

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'You don't want to go on a summer holiday on the beach and see that sort of thing,' she added.

Ms Levy was concerned there may be a conservation problem behind the numerous reports of dead seals on the shores, with some spotted in Heacham and Hunstanton only last week.

But the curator at Hunstanton Sea Life Centre, Kieran Copeland, said finding dead seal pups at this time of year is 'relatively normal' due to a high number of seal pups being born in June and July.

'We have got a lot of animals being born in a short period of time and some are separated from their mothers in bad weather,' Mr Copeland added.

'A couple of weeks ago we had particularly bad weather on a Saturday, and on Sunday 29 pups were found dead between Snettisham and Hunstanton.'

A team from the Sea Life Centre assessed the injuries of the four dead pups on Heacham beach and found one had possibly been killed by a predator while the others were probably stranded.

Mr Copeland said does not believe there is a conservation issue at hand, but added: 'We are working with various people to find out more and taking samples from animals coming to us alive.

'Until we get those results we can't really say.'

Anyone who comes across a dead seal is advised not to touch or go near it and to call West Norfolk council on 01553 616200.

If you find a stranded living seal, call the Sea Life Centre on 01485 533576.

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