In 2001 just 25 seal pups were born on Blakeney Point. In 2014 that number had increased to 2,426 - how amazing and how wonderful! This year has been slightly less but the National Trust says this is good news and means that the colony has 'stabilised'.
The Point is the perfect breeding site for grey seals and with no natural predators the pup survival rates are high. The National Trust counted 2,342 pups born this season at Blakeney. Ajay Tegala, National Trust ranger, said: "This is good news as the seals were spreading at such a rate over such a big area that it makes it easier to protect them." The Trust said the lower birth rate meant the colony had "stabilised".
After grey seals began colonising the spit on the north Norfolk coast, the Trust said there was anecdotal evidence of two pups being born in 1987 or 1988 and a first "official" record of five pups in 1999. A more accurate standardised method of counting pups began in 2006 when 213 were recorded. The Trust has 12 volunteers to try and make sure people visiting with their dogs did not disturb the breeding colony. Mr Tegala said: "The seals have filled the key habitats on Blakeney, so it's good news the population has stabilised this year." If they continued to spread into the dunes and along the beach towards Cley, this would make them harder to protect. "When a breeding site becomes too densely populated, grey seals tend to colonise new habitats and there is already anecdotal evidence seals from the Norfolk colonies at Blakeney and Horsey have moved south to the Thames estuary and northern France."