NEWS AND OPINION: Against the advice of an expert, a woman picked up a baby seal on a beach near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, UK, and wrapped the animal in her coat, I presume in attempt to rescue the animal, but it died of shock. Inadvertently, therefore, she killed this baby seal. She must be distraught. I hope that she is without wanting to be malicious but simply to emphasise the fact that she made a very bad mistake in ignoring the advice of an expert who she contacted.
A spokesperson for the Marine and Wildlife Rescue organisation said: “We received a call for this seal pup. The pup was picked up and wrapped in a coat even though we instructed the caller to leave the seal pup alone to be checked in the morning. This pup was subjected to unnecessary suffering as a result.”
A group of people who call themselves Friends of Horsey Seals are outraged by the incident. They have educated the public about the need to leave baby seals alone. A spokesperson said that no matter how tempted people are to help baby seals on the beach they should leave them alone because they are very sensitive and can “easily go into a state of shock like this one did and has passed away.”
Thousands of seals are born on the east coast of Norfolk, UK, every year. So, there are lots of baby seals. And that’s because the mothers, leave them there after they have weaned them. The mothers go back to sea.
The pups then spend a few weeks surviving on their own before they, too, head out into the ocean where they spend most of the year swimming between Iceland and the UK looking for fish.
In 2022, I’m told that there was a record number of gray seal pups along the beach in that area of the UK. Along the 5-mile stretch of sand, since the start of the season, 3,796 babies have been born.
This is about double the previous numbers in 2019-2020 when the pup population was 2069.
Remarkably, around 20 years ago only 50 seals were born at this place. The success is largely due to 383 local volunteers who keep the area secure which allows females to go back to that place to have their babies.