Blakeney Point: Record number of seal pups born in colony
A record number of grey seal pups have been born in a North Sea colony, the National Trust has said.
Rangers said 3,068 pups had been born so far this year, beating the total of 3,012 in 2018 at Blakeney Point on the north Norfolk coast.
The pups are among more than 7,000 seals on the coastal spit.
The trust believes the colony's remoteness and the absence of predators could be reasons for its success.
It added there was still a month of the breeding season left so the number of pups could rise.
The count began on 1 November, when rangers spotted the first four seal pups, and a final tally will be done in January.
Just 25 pups were born when the colony was established in 2001, with numbers passing the 1,000 mark for the first time in 2012.
Leighton Newman, a ranger at Blakeney Point, said: "While it's very busy on the reserve, with over 7,000 seals currently present, including adults, there's lots of space to support the expanding numbers.
"We're also starting to see the seals move into different areas of the reserve, so in addition to the shallow-sloping sandy beach, more are moving into the sheltered sand dunes further inland, which provides additional protection from any bad weather, although it's been particularly mild again so far this winter."
The colony is sensitive to disturbance during pupping seasons, so the National Trust has asked visitors to keep their distance from the animals and not to bring dogs.