Norfolk seal colony sees hundred-fold rise in pups

Seals lay on the beach at Blakeney Point Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

A grey seal colony has seen the number of pups born each year increase a hundred-fold in just 14 years to become the biggest breeding site for the animals in England.

North Norfolk's Blakeney Point, managed by the National Trust, saw 2,426 seals born this year, almost double the number born there two years ago.

National Trust experts put the success of the colony, which has grown exponentially since the first 25 pups were born there 14 years ago, down to the remote, sheltered beach which is safe from predators and other disturbances.

To prevent walkers disturbing the seals, which can increase the chance of fighting among the adults and lead to the pups being crushed, National Trust rangers and volunteers have fenced off part of the beach and dunes and introduced viewing areas.

National Trust rangers monitor the colony, tracking and recording seal pups born throughout the winter from November. The young seals are expected to be on Blakeney Point until the end of January.

Blakeney National Nature Reserve provides the perfect conditions for seal to multiply Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Ajay Tegala, National Trust coastal ranger at Blakeney, said it had been "mind-blowing to see the change".

Elsewhere, the National Trust also saw a successful breeding season for seals on the Farne Islands, off the Northumberland coast, with 1,651 pups born this year - the highest total on the islands since 1971.