‘Idiot’ tries to stroke seal pup - and is almost bitten by furious bulls

A man seen on Winterton beach on Monday standing "far too close" to a new born seal pup. Photo: Gary

A man seen on Winterton beach on Monday standing "far too close" to a new born seal pup. Photo: Gary Davis - Credit: Archant

Seal wardens have said a new beach fence to keep seals and humans apart is “needed now more than ever” after one “idiotic” man was caught trying to stroke a pup.

Fence being put up by Horsey Friends of Seals and Natural England Volunteers at Winterton beach to p

Fence being put up by Horsey Friends of Seals and Natural England Volunteers at Winterton beach to protect the seals. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

On Tuesday, the Friends of Horsey Seals (FoHS) and Natural England began constructing a 1.2km chestnut fence along Winterton Beach in an effort to protect pregnant grey seals and their pups over the winter.

Gary Davis, who was at Winterton beach, took a photograph of the culprit standing dangerously close to a new-born pup.

He said: “The idiot was trying to touch the seals yesterday and almost got bitten. He walked up to the seal to stroke it, and two bulls turned on him.

“The attendant told us he’d put both himself and the seals it danger. It really annoyed me.”

Fence being put up by Horsey Friends of Seals and Natural England Volunteers at Winterton beach to p

Fence being put up by Horsey Friends of Seals and Natural England Volunteers at Winterton beach to protect the seals. John White Reserves Warden Natural England. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

Jane Bowden, a FoHS trustee and warden, said: “As you can see from the picture, the pup’s mother is fleeing back towards the water.


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“There’s absolutely no guarantee she’ll come back, and that means this unwitting visitor, who maybe thought he was special and could ignore the signs, may have contributed to this pup’s death.”

Ms Bowden said the fence, which will be completed over the next week, was designed to “stop people and seals mingling”.

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She said: “We need the fence now more than ever. Often, female seals trying to escape from the attention of the males will go into the dunes to give birth and bump into groups of people.

Fence being put up by Horsey Friends of Seals and Natural England Volunteers at Winterton beach to p

Fence being put up by Horsey Friends of Seals and Natural England Volunteers at Winterton beach to protect the seals. Peter Ansell Chairman of Freidns of Seals. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

“The fence will keep visitors on the dunes and the seals on the beach, and stop the fatal interactions which see so many of the pups ultimately die.”

Last year, in pupping season alone, Winterton and Horsey beaches had over 130,000 visitors.

Ms Bowden said it was a concern the number would be higher this year as people visited during the November lockdown, but chairman of the FoHS, Peter Ansell, said he hoped the fence would do the trick.

He said: “This fence will stop the bedlam. But people still need to keep at least 10m distance from the seals, and avoid trying to take selfies with them.”

Fence being put up by Horsey Friends of Seals and Natural England Volunteers at Winterton beach to p

Fence being put up by Horsey Friends of Seals and Natural England Volunteers at Winterton beach to protect the seals. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

Jan Bowles, owner of Winterton car park, said it would remain open until 4pm on Wednesday - but that no final decision has been made about whether to keep it open during lockdown.

Attempts to contact the owner of the Horsey Gap car park have not been successful.

Fence being put up by Horsey Friends of Seals and Natural England Volunteers at Winterton beach to p

Fence being put up by Horsey Friends of Seals and Natural England Volunteers at Winterton beach to protect the seals. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

Fence being put up by Horsey Friends of Seals and Natural England Volunteers at Winterton beach to p

Fence being put up by Horsey Friends of Seals and Natural England Volunteers at Winterton beach to protect the seals. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

Fence being put up by Horsey Friends of Seals and Natural England Volunteers at Winterton beach to p

Fence being put up by Horsey Friends of Seals and Natural England Volunteers at Winterton beach to protect the seals. Left Peter Ansell Chairman of Freidns of Seals , David Vice, Sally Butler, Billy Le Compte. Right, John White Reserves Warden Natural England. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

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