Isle of Man survey identifies 14 new seal pups
Grey seal pups living off the coast of the Isle of Man are being counted as part of an annual survey.
A wildlife project has identified 14 new seal pups near the Calf of Man, as well as several pregnant females.
The annual pupping season runs throughout the autumn months and experts expect to see around 40 new pups born each year.
Marine officer Eleanor Stone said:" Two of the mothers are raising what we know is at least their fourth pup."
She added: "A team of volunteers will continue the survey for the next four weeks, to get a full picture of the whole pupping season."
- Grey seals are Britain's largest living carnivore
- Britain has 36% of the world population of grey seals around its shores
- Around 600 are thought to live around the Manx coast
- Common or grey? Bill Oddie explains the difference between the UK's two resident species of seal.
- Playful pups - Enjoy watching grey seal pups learning about life.
- Designed to dive - Marvel at the adaptations seals have to avoid getting the bends.
A warning was recently issued ahead of the breeding season.'Sharp teeth'
Officials from the Manx Wildlife Trust said pups may look harmless but they have extremely sharp teeth and can be aggressive if approached.
"Although they look cute and harmless, pups have sharp teeth and can be aggressive, so we would urge people not to approach them," said Ms Stone.
"Their mothers are very protective so could also be aggressive if they feel their pup is being threatened. Mothers may also abandon their pups, if they pick up a different scent, for example of a human or dog.
"So if you do come across one on a beach, put dogs on leads and keep to a distance to ensure that every pup has the best chance of survival."
After 11 months of gestation, the pups have just a month after birth to wean themselves off their mother to make a life for themselves in the sea.
Although it is not known how many grey seals live around the Isle of Man, it is thought to be in the region of about 300 at any one time.
During previous surveys, photographs taken of the mothers have proved that the same seals come back year after year to give birth and breed on the rocks at the Calf of Man.
Anyone concerned about a pup is asked to contact the Manx Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA).