Thursday, 7 November 2013

Pupping on a prayer!

Welcome to the world! A day old Seal pup! (Bex Outram)
He's a biggun! Our pups pile on 2kg a day! (Bex Outram)
A tranquil scene, mother with pup (Bex Outram)
Bullfight! It's all to play for... (Bex Outram)
Battered pride, he'll be back (Bex Outram)
It's their island now. (Bex Outram)
As cute as they come! (Bex Outram)
Dreaming of milk and fish. It's an easy life! (Bex Outram)
Thursday 7th Novemeber comments: WOOOOAH, we’re half way there! WOOOOAH pupping on a prayer!

It’s all happening now on the Farnes and the Grey Seal pupping season is now in full swing. Every morning we wake up and there are more and more pups surrounding us! The last count stood at 764 pups, bringing us roughly half way to what we expect our overall total to be. Last year we boasted the largest colony in England, with 1603 pups born on the islands. The trend on the Farnes shows that the pups are on the up, so watch this space for our final figures!

So far it’s been a good season, with relatively calm weather allowing for an easy life for our seal pups. Our Grey Seals have no natural predators on the Farnes but the mortality rate is often very high and can be over 50%. Why? One word. WEATHER! At this time of year we can experience some big storms out here, with pups being washed away into the briny depths. It’s not easy being a Grey Seal! On the flip side, when the weather is good, all they have to do is eat and sleep! 

At just three weeks of age the pups are completely independent, finding their way into the North Sea and learning how to survive and catch fish all by themselves. All by instinct. Amazing. Bad weather at this time of year also means us Rangers can’t get off for a shower, smelling almost as bad as our seals! It’s all part of the job.

With most colonies hitting their peaks now, it really is crunch time as the team work hard to make sure every pup is counted. It really is an incredible experience to live and work on an active seal colony. As I write this the wind is howling outside the window and the seals are howling their own chorus as they defend their small patch of rock. Nature is amazing, get out there and see it as often as you can! 

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