Campaign launched to keep Norfolk seals safe

A grey seal with her newborn pup on the beach at Horsey Gap

A grey seal with her newborn pup on the beach at Horsey Gap, and, inset, the logo for the Safer Seals campaign. - Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/NNDC

Keeping seals safe from harm is the goal of a new campaign which has been launched as visitor numbers on the north Norfolk coast pick up ahead of summer.

Dog mess, people who get too close and flying rings are all in the firing line of the Safer Seals campaign, which has been launched by North Norfolk District Council in partnership with with the Friends of Horsey Seals.

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

Peter Ansell, chairman of Friends of Horsey Seals.   - Credit: Archant

It follows ongoing concerns over injuries sustained by seals in recent months

Peter Ansell, chairman of the Friends group, said: "Please do not bring flying rings of any description to the beach at all, they cause horrific injuries to the seals. They get on their necks as juveniles and as they grow whatever's there stays and just cuts into their necks."

Mr Ansell highlighted a recent case where a seal suffered a 7cm deep cut around her neck due to being trapped in a plastic ring for nearly two-and-a-half years. 

Seals on Blakeney Point (photo: Matthew Usher)

Seals on Blakeney Point. - Credit: Matthew Usher

He said: "She was named by us as Mrs Vicar, because the plastic ring around her neck was white - for want of a better description. The wound around her neck is absolutely horrific."


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Mr Ansell called on dog owners to clean up after their pets and dispose of the waste properly, as volunteers regularly found plastic bags full of dog poo flung onto the grass. He said: "Why they do that is beyond me." 

Each year from October to January, Blakeney Point becomes Britain's largest grey seal colony as about 4,000 cows and 2,000 bulls make their way there from across the North Sea for pupping season

Mrs Vicar the grey seal was rescued at Horsey

Mrs Vicar the seal suffered a 7cm deep cut around her neck due to being trapped in a plastic ring for nearly two and a half years. - Credit: RSPCA

Horsey Gap then becomes a popular spot for seals to malt. Mr Ansell said: "Last week there were probably around 2,000 seals along this beach. They come out to malt end of January, beginning of March when they've got over their pupping season.

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"They start coming ashore and need six-to-eight weeks to malt their old outer fur whilst their inner, fine fur protects them somewhat." 

The logo for the Safer Seals campaign. 

The logo for the Safer Seals campaign. - Credit: North Norfolk District Council

Anyone who finds a seal in distress and in need of emergency assistance can call British Marine Divers on 01825 765546, the RSPCA on 0300 1245 999, Friends of Horsey Seals on 07706 314514 or Marine and Wildlife Rescue on 01692 650338 or Info@marineandwildliferescue.org.uk.

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