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Cute baby grey seals at South Walney Nature Reserve

PUBLISHED: 00:00 23 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:27 23 November 2017

One of the first pups born this breeding season at Walney

One of the first pups born this breeding season at Walney

sally tapp

Lancashire's Walney Island looks like becoming an established breeding ground for grey seals.

Mums will abandon pups if they are disturbed so watch them on seal camMums will abandon pups if they are disturbed so watch them on seal cam

For decades, grey seals have used the protected beaches on Walney Island as a resting place, but hopes are high that it is now becoming established as a breeding ground for these endearing pups.

At the time of going to print, four had been born this breeding season at the South Walney Nature Reserve. According to Cumbria Wildlife Trust, last year saw five born so hopes are high number will increase.

‘I’ve been checking SealCam every day in anticipation of our first birth this year. We’ve now seen four seal pups on the camera and I’m really hopeful our numbers will reach or exceed the five pups we had last year,’ says Sarah Dalrymple, reserve officer at South Walney.

‘Staff and volunteers work really hard to make sure the colony of grey seals is protected from disturbance from people and dogs – the beaches are closed to the public – and the birth of these pups is a reflection of our success.

‘The best view of the seals is via our SealCam which can be watched online on our website or on a screen at the nature reserve, people can also see the seals from the hide using binoculars.’

During the 1970s and 80s, only single seals were seen around Walney but gradually over time their numbers have increased with over 100 now on and around the island at certain times of the year.

The mothers will stay with their pups for only a short time, feeding them with fat-rich milk, until it is weaned and then she will leave both the pup and the area. During this time, the pup will gradually moult its thick white fur revealing its adult coat before heading out to sea to forage for itself.

You can also now watch the seals at South Walney Nature Reserve from the comfort of computer by logging on to the trust’s popular new seal cam at www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife/seal-cam

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