“They really are brilliant, and kept our feet lovely and warm and dry over the past few months, thank you so much.”
by Peter Ansell, Chairman FoHS
The British Isles are home to around 40% of the world population of Atlantic Grey Seals, of which about 5000 form part of a colony ranging from Waxham to Winterton, and these are the ones our charity endeavours to look after, particularly during their breeding season, November through to early February.
The females, (cows), come ashore to give birth to their pups, who weigh about 12-15Kgs at birth. She then feeds her pup for 18/21 days, bringing its weight up to 40/45 kgs. The pup is then abandoned by the mother, who heads out to sea, usually mating with one or more males, (bulls), on the way.
Julie Rose + Barry Williams Photography
The pup remains on shore for another three weeks, during which time it sheds its white coat and grows an adult one.
It is essential that the seals are not disturbed by people or dogs at this time, which is why we cordon off the beach, and direct the public to designated viewing areas.
Friends of Horsey Seals have over 350 volunteers, and a supervising committee of Trustees, all of whom are unpaid, and we are financed mostly by public donations.
20 years ago, the colony was tiny, with under 100 pups born. Since wardening began all those years ago, the numbers have increased dramatically year-on-year, with the latest season producing over 2500 pups.
Barry Williams Photography
About Friends of Horsey Seals
FoHS was inaugurated in late 2011 to take over management of a project set up in 2002/3 by Natural England and the Broads Authority. FoHS became a charity in 2016. The project aims to protect grey seals at Horsey and Winterton, Norfolk, particularly during the late autumn and winter, when they come ashore to give birth and mate. The charity’s volunteers are also involved throughout the year in the rescue of seals that are sick or in distress. Our aim is: To protect the grey seal rookery at Horsey from disturbance by the public. Our objectives are: To increase knowledge, understanding and appreciation of grey seals. To work with landowners, agencies and the local community to increase protection of the grey seal colony. To operate and manage an effective seal warden scheme.
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