1. ITV Report

Record numbers of seal pups expected this year

The breeding season for seals at Blakeney Point in north Norfolk has reached the halfway point with more than 1,700 pups already born.

The National Trust says it expects the total to rise above the 2,700 born last year by the time the season comes to an end in January

Seals at Blakeney Point Credit: ITV Anglia

The first pups were late arriving this year because of the dry summer, however there are now an average of 163 pups being born each day at Blakeney Point.

Blakeney Point provides an ideal breeding site for grey seals and pup survival rates are high with just a 5% mortality.

Seals at Blakeney Point Credit: ITV Anglia

"The pups can crawl up the dunes so they can get out of big tides or storms. They're here for the peace and quiet, so that's one of our main jobs in the winter, making sure we keep the disturbance to a minimum."

– Ryan Doggart, Assistant Ranger, National Trust
The seals attract lots of visitors at Blakeney Point Credit: ITV Anglia

Pups are regularly counted and any found to be seriously ill or injured are taken to the RSPCA animal hospital.

  • Grey seal pups are born on land with white coats.
  • They are fed on their mother's rich milk for up to three weeks.
  • In this time, they triple in size and shed their white fur.
  • The mother then leaves the pup to fend for itself.

The current record numbers are a far cry from 2001 during an outbreak of the distemper virus when just 25 pups were born at Blakeney Point.

A National Trust Ranger team protect and monitor the seal colony.