A record-breaking year for seal pups!

Seal and pup pictured at Donna Nook at the end of 2019. (Photo: Mark Suffield).
Seal and pup pictured at Donna Nook at the end of 2019. (Photo: Mark Suffield).

The Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust has revealed that this winter has seen yet another record-breaking year at Donna Nook, with a total of 2,187 grey seal pups born, a 5.8 per cent increase on last year, which saw 2,066 pups.

Numbers continue to rise every year thanks to the hard work of the wardens and volunteers and the respect of visitors who remain in the fenced-off viewing area, helping to reduce disturbance to the seals.

The success rate has also been possible due to a low mortality rate at Donna Nook of 6.6 per cent in comparison to other breeding colonies across the UK which can reach 50 per cent.

The extensive sand dunes and distance from the sea, along with the decrease in disturbance since the erection of a fenced-off viewing area has all helped to bring mortality rates down.

Donna Nook continues to be a popular destination, with 59,778 visitors in 2019 from October to January.

This compares with 60,779 in 2018, and the Trust has put this year’s slightly lower figure down to the car park closure over one of the peak weekends, due to flooding.

Last week, the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust said: “We’d like to thank our team of hard-working volunteers who have helped with another busy seal season.

“Without their hours of support, running a popular nature reserve just wouldn’t be possible. In total, our volunteers gave the equivalent of 283 days!

“Their support means we can better cope with visitor numbers, and help to keep an eye on any abandoned pups which may need our help.”

Matthew Capper, head of public engagement and communications at Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, added: “It’s a real success story at Donna Nook.

“Grey seal numbers are increasing every single year.

“The colony is able to haul out safely here, and by having a separate viewing area they remain undisturbed by humans, hence the high survival rate of the pups.

“We have a great team of wardens and volunteers who help to make sure people can enjoy their visit and learn about the seals from a safe distance.”

The trust is also calling for new volunteers for the 2020 seal season ahead.

If you have an interest in the natural world and good communications skills, apply to be one of the trust’s volunteer seal wardens.

Send an email to info@lincstrust.co.uk to find out more information and to register your interest in becoming a volunteer.