Norfolk seal pups die due to actions of beachgoers


Beachgoers on the Norfolk coast have been blamed for the deaths of three Grey Seal pups in three days.

Friends of Horsey Seals said one of the animals drowned on Sunday after being chased into the water, while another was abandoned by its mother after being surrounded by people – both at Winterton-on-Sea. A third died after being attacked by a dog two days earlier.

Norfolk Grey Seals have their young during winter, between November and January (Nick Appleton).

The charity said deaths due to "human intervention" were "not acceptable" and urged visitors to keep their distance. A spokesman said, in one case on Sunday, "two young children were allowed by their mother to chase the young, unweaned and non-waterproof pup into the water where it drowned".

Another seal pup died on the beach after its mother was unable to reach it after it was surrounded by visitors, he said. Prof Ben Garrod, from the University of East Anglia, said: "The action of visitors to Horsey and Winterton are killing seals. Actually killing them.

"The vast majority of people are amazing it's just a handful of absolute idiots. It is a criminal offence to cause death to any protected species."

Both Common and Grey Seals breed along the north Norfolk coast in their thousands. In the summer, between June and August, Common Seals have their young, while Grey Seals give birth to their pups between November and January.