WATCH: Photographer captures adorable moment a baby grey seal pup sleeps on beach
PUBLISHED: 12:57 22 January 2019 | UPDATED: 13:06 22 January 2019
It's been a record-breaking year for grey seal pups at the National Trust's Blakeney Point nature reserve with 3,012 born this winter.
The first grey seal pup was observed on Blakeney Point in 1988, with it establishing itself as a rookery in 2001 when 25 pups were born. Since then the colony has gone from strength to strength, passing the 1,000 mark for pups in 2012, then 2,000 in 2014 and 3,000 in December 2018.
It’s believed that the remoteness of the reserve and limited disturbance is creating the perfect habitat for what has become the largest grey seal colony in England.
Over the last 30 years approximately 20,000 grey seal pups have been born on this remote spit in north Norfolk and with just a 1.5pc mortality rate this winter, Blakeney Point continues to be a healthy, productive and successful rookery.
National Trust rangers monitor the colony by counting and recording seal pups throughout the winter.
Ranger Leighton Newman said: “The count, which began on October 25, 2018, started slowly with fewer numbers born in the early days compared to previous years; but by the last week of November, births were in full swing with an average of 150 pups being born every day.
“We’d like to say a really big thank you to all of our amazing and dedicated volunteers who have spent their time helping us to monitor the colony and speak to visitors this winter, in often cold and windy conditions.
“We are also fortunate to have a really supportive local community and visitors to the reserve. They have helped keep disturbance of the seals to a minimum, sticking to waymarked routes, staying clear of fenced off areas and ensuring that the seals have the space they need. This all helps ensure the colony can thrive.”
Elsewhere along the east coast, seal colonies have also fared well again this year. At nearby Horsey, near Sea Palling, births passed the 2,000 mark for the first time with 2,068 pups born. And the National Trust’s Farne Islands off the Northumberland Coast reported a record 2,602 pups.