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Seal pups lost to storms

United KIngdom
High tides and stormy weather may have washed away hundreds of pups from one of the country’s major seal colonies off the North-East coast. Waves battered the Farne Islands, two miles off the Northumberland coastline last week, and the devastation to the local seal population can only be assessed now as the sea conditions slowly improve. Unusually, grey seals pup in the autumn, and the colony on the Farnes waits longer than other groups around the UK, making the youngsters particularly susceptible to heavy storms. Last week’s high tides, coupled with strong northerly winds, meant tides that usually rise to four metres were up to 5.4 metres. Some islands which normally remain above sea level were totally submerged, sweeping all young seal life from them. It is estimated that 60%-65% of pups had died. “Early signs are pretty grave. There is no doubt the colony has been severely affected by the great surge of waves that washed over the islands a few days ago...Grey seals have a very long life span so if there have been extra deaths this year, the seals could easily be replaced over the next couple of years.”

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