Norfolk seal colony has another record breaking year
PUBLISHED: 13:21 27 January 2020 | UPDATED: 13:21 27 January 2020
Norfolk's Blakeney Point, home to England's largest seal colony, has had another record-breaking year.
The final count for this winter shows 3,399 grey seal pups have been born on Blakeney Point, a 13pc increase on last year.
Numbers of grey seal pups born on the reserve passed 3,000 for the first time in 2019, with the number rising again this winter.
It's believed that the remoteness of the reserve and limited disturbance creates the perfect habitat for what has become the largest grey seal colony in England.
National Trust Ranger, Leighton Newman, said: "Our first seal pups were spotted on November 1, which kicked off another busy season on Blakeney Point.
"By the peak of the pupping season, around early December, up to 180 seal pups can be born each day.
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"It's a busy time when we're counting the new arrivals and we couldn't do what we do without the support of our team of dedicated volunteers, who are out in all weathers with us, speaking to visitors and helping to monitor the seal colony."
The record-breaking news comes as the National Trust celebrates 125 years of looking after nature, beauty and history for the nation to enjoy
Blakeney Point National Nature Reserve has been in the care of the National Trust since 1912.
Internationally important for its breeding birds, it wasn't until 2001 that a grey seal colony established itself here.
Mr Newman said:"As we mark our milestone anniversary, we're not just looking back, but forward.
"It's important we continue to help connect people with nature, if we are to inspire them to want to care for it. It's a careful balance, creating ways for people to enjoy this magnificent wildlife spectacle, whilst keeping disturbance to a minimum.
"So we'd like to say a big thank you to our visitors and local community, who have been keeping to waymarked routes and respecting these wild animals by keeping their distance this winter, as it's thanks to their efforts that we can ensure the colony thrives."
National Trust rangers are out regularly monitoring the colony by counting and recording seal pups throughout the winter breeding season, which covers November to early January.