Saturday, 7 December 2013

Update on the seal colony at Blakeney Point

After a full day spent assessing the impact of the December 5 tidal surge on the North Norfolk coast, our rangers have finally been able to get a full picture about how the seal colony at Blakeney Point has fared. 

The large colony, which breeds at Blakeney Point each year, reaches in excess of 1000 seals and pups, from November to January.

It is with great relief that the ranger team discovered the vast majority of the colony survived the extreme tidal surge. There had been fears that many of the young pups, which can’t swim or survive without their mother’s milk until they have shed their distinctive white fur, would have been displaced from the colony or have lost their lives.

However, it would appear that the majority of seals and pups were able to reach higher ground on the sand dunes and escape the worst of the surge.

The National Trust cares for large areas of the North Norfolk coast, including the Blakeney Point Lifeboat House. Damage has been caused to the Lifeboat House and surrounding buildings and a full assessment will now need to take place.

Victoria Egan, Countryside Manager for the Norfolk Coast said:

“So many people have been badly affected by the tidal surge and have lost homes and possessions. Amidst this, we have been touched by the concern that has been shown for the seal colony. We hope people will join us in being delighted that the majority of these resilient creatures survived and we hope to be able to carry out a full count in the coming days.
“Of course, many of the seals will have been displaced from the colony and we know a number of people have spotted them. We strongly urge anyone who sees a seal or pup to please stay well away from them, they are wild animals and must be allowed to behave in their natural way. The mothers will search for their pups, but not if people are around them.
“Having survived such terrible weather conditions, any human intervention now could have dire consequences, no matter how well intentioned.”

Our team is working closely with the East Winch RSPCA. Our rangers and RSPCA officers are experienced in working with seals are able to assess them on a case by case basis. East Winch RSPCA hospital is currently caring for a large number of seals, birds and injured wildlife. Anyone finding a seal is urged to only make contact with the RSPCA if it is injured or visibly in distress, otherwise, please keep your distance.

The RSPCA telephone number for emergency use only is 0300 1234 999.

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