Beach to be closed off to the public to protect seals

One of the seals has had a flying ring stuck around her neck for the past three weeks. PHOTO: Liz Cr

One of the seals has had a flying ring stuck around her neck for the past three weeks. PHOTO: Liz Croxson - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk beach is to be closed off from this weekend until the end of January to protect the seals who are now entering pupping season.

Rope and plastic embedded around one seals neck. PHOTO: Dave Gray

Rope and plastic embedded around one seals neck. PHOTO: Dave Gray - Credit: Archant

As an increasing number of pregnant grey seals start gathering on Horsey Beach, Friends of Horsey Seals wardens will close the beach to the public.

The closure is being put in place to protect the seals from unnecessary disturbance.

Throughout the pupping season, visitors will be able to view the colony from roped off viewing areas on top of the dunes.

Friends of Horsey Seals volunteers have also been forced to rescue 140 seals this year who have been necklaced because of plastic waste in the sea or who are suffering from illnesses.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for volunteers to rescue pups as pupping season begins. PHOTO:

It is becoming increasingly difficult for volunteers to rescue pups as pupping season begins. PHOTO: Liz Croxson - Credit: Archant


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Jane Bowden, Friends of Horsey Seals media co-ordinator described how easy it is for young seal pups to get waste trapped around their necks.

She said: “When seals are pups they tend to play around with anything in the sea and this is when waste gets embedded in their flesh.

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“The trouble our volunteers are having is that you can never capture a seal if it is in a group, they will get spooked, you can only capture them when they are isolated.

“This means we are in a difficult situation because as pupping season starts the seals gather in bigger groups.”

Volunteers have rescued 140 seals this year due to plastic waste being embedded around their necks o

Volunteers have rescued 140 seals this year due to plastic waste being embedded around their necks or from suffering from illnesses. PHOTO: Liz Croxson - Credit: Archant

The volunteer team have been trying to capture several seals in recent weeks who have become necklaced.

David Vyse volunteers down at the beach and is the vice chairman of the Friends of Horsey Seals.

He said: “For the past three weeks we have been trying to capture various seals down at the beach including one with a flying ring around her neck.

“It’s the larger seals we are concerned about because many have illnesses like lung worm.

The advice is to make sure you get rid of any waste. PHOTO: Liz Croxson

The advice is to make sure you get rid of any waste. PHOTO: Liz Croxson - Credit: Archant

Mr Vyse also works at the East Winch seal hospital in West Norfolk. He said: “It’s getting busy at the hospital because we are treating lots of common seals with illnesses this year.

“My advice to the public is to use all the rubbish bins provided at Horsey beach, alert us if you see any individual seals with rope or flying rings around their neck and stay 10 metres away from the seals.”

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