Over the last few decades, the number of grey seals hauling out to rest on the protected beach of Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s South Walney Nature Reserve has been increasing. Two years ago the first ever pup to be born on South Walney was spotted as part of a routine seal survey. That year, two pups were born.
Grey seals have an annual, synchronous breeding cycle. Females grey seals give birth to a single pup each autumn at the same time each year. They usually return to breed year on year in the same location. Towards the end of the weaning period the seals will mate again.
Emily Baxter, Senior Marine Conservation Officer for the North West Wildlife Trusts said: "The first pup of this year was spotted on exactly the same day as the first pup last year. It is likely that it was the same mother coming back to have another pup here at that same time as she did last year. We will be attempting to work out if this is the case using photo identification, comparing the unique markings on the mothers from last year and this year."
The establishment of a breeding colony on South Walney is an encouraging indication that grey seals are thriving on Walney Island and around the UK, with numbers on the increase.