Record number of seal pups for nature reserve

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SIXTEEN harbour seal pups have been born at a nature reserve.

The colony of harbour seals at the Teesmouth National Nature Reserve has had a record number of seal pups born, which has seen their number swell from 20 in 1989 to around 80.

Volunteers with the Industry Nature Conservation Association (INCA) monitor the seals on a daily basis, counting and watching the seals at low tide.

The seals give birth on the tidal sandbanks at Seal Sands, south of Seaton Carew off Tees Road, so the new pups have to swim within hours of birth as the incoming tide covers the birthing area. They can be spotted from Greatham Creek Bridge or on Seal Sands, but visitors are asked not to disturb them.

Natural England outreach adviser Jo Collins said: “You can get a great view of the seals and their pups by staying fairly quiet, not making sudden movements, and keeping to footpaths. Disturbing the seals can stop them feeding their young and that can be harmful if it happens repeatedly.”

Natural England and the Hartlepool Countryside Team for a guided seal walk starting from Greatham village at 12.30pm on July 16.

For more information or to book a place ring (01429) 853325.