Count of newborn seal pups passes the 800 mark

Atlantic grey seals. Picture by George Ledger
Atlantic grey seals. Picture by George Ledger

More than 800 new seal pups have now been counted on the Farne Islands, off the north Northumberland coast, including 300 this weekend alone.

Towards the beginning of October, we reported that the first seal pups of the year had been born on the Islands, marking the start of this year’s annual seal count by resident rangers.

Every year, more than 1,500 pups are born on the islands, which is the largest Atlantic grey seal colony in England.

Rangers from conservation charity the National Trust spend three months monitoring the success rate of the breeding seals.

Last year, a total of 1,575 pups were born, taking the overall Farnes population to an estimated 5,000.

By Sunday afternoon, the team had counted a total of 830 newborn pups this autumn, including 315 sprayed over the weekend.

Meanwhile, the RSPCA has warned that its wildlife centres are bracing themselves for a long winter and pens are already filling up with poorly pups.

The number of admissions jumped by 61 per cent in 2013. Now, as the winter months begin, the RSPCA has already admitted dozens of pups in to their care meaning space for more is running low.

It costs around £22 a week to feed each seal and each animal can expect up to five months of rehabilitation.