The first seal pup of the year has been born on the Farne Islands off the Northumberland Coast, marking the start of this year’s annual seal count.
Every year, over 1,500 pups are born on the islands, which is the largest Atlantic grey seal colony in England. Islands’ resident Rangers from conservation charity the National Trust spend three months each autumn monitoring the breeding seals. Last year, 1,575 pups were born taking the overall Farnes population to an estimated 5,000.
As this year’s seal breeding season gets underway, the National Trust is offering visitors to the Islands an opportunity to get up close to the seals.
From today until October 31, tours will take place daily with boats leaving from Seahouses Harbour.
The breeding season for seals on the Farnes can sometimes start as early as September with the majority of pups being born in October and November. Although the pups can swim at an early age they don’t normally leave the breeding colony until they have been weaned and moulted their white coats.