A Northumberland Seal Pup Dies After Being Chased Into the Sea
The death of a Northumberland seal pup was heartbreaking to see. It had been repeatedly chased by people on a beach in Northumberland. The seal was just resting on the sand when the people started chasing it into the sea. Although seals live and hunt in the sea, they are land-dwelling creatures that require a beach to rest. If humans are too close, they can leap off rocks to escape.
80% of a seal’s time is spent below water
Seals spend most of their lives in the transition zone between the water’s surface and the seafloor, between two hundred and one thousand meters deep. This is where they forage for small fish – on the order of two centimeters long – and rest. During the day, they stay below the water’s surface for up to half an hour. Female seals also spend over an hour a day sleeping.
Most seals surveyed exhibited a clear diel pattern, but individuals varied in their preferred on-ice and subnivean lair use. Generally, subnivean lairs were occupied between 1800 and 0600 hours local time and during late April and early May. This diel haulout pattern is similar to that of other seals, including ringed seals in Alaska and Svalbard.
They can spend a lot of time on land
An unnamed Northumberland beach was the scene of a tragic accident involving a seal pup. Despite the efforts of local vets and animal rescuers, a pup has died after being chased into the sea by people. The seal pup, which was underweight and exhausted, was unable to rest on the beach and died overnight. The incident has led to calls for greater awareness of how to protect seals and other marine mammals.
Seal pups are very frightened and terrified of humans. It’s best to avoid touching them, and avoid chasing them into the sea. Seal pups are incredibly vulnerable and have poor swimming skills. Likewise, older seals may be hauled out for good reasons, so it’s better to avoid touching them.
They are known as ‘capital breeders’
Northumberland seals are renowned for their breeding habits, and have been a popular attraction for people for decades. In recent years, most pups have been born on the South and North Wamses, but now more are being born on the brownsman and Staple islands, which are higher and safer for breeding.
Grey seals breed in several colonies in the United Kingdom. These are situated along the coast, including Blakeney Point in Norfolk, Donna Nook in Lincolnshire, and the Farne Islands. Other colonies include Orkney and North Rona, two Scottish islands. There is also a small colony at Ramsey Island, off the coast of Pembradelmor.
They are ‘capital predators’
A Northumberland seal pup has died after being chased into the sea repeatedly by people. The seal was trying to relax on the beach, but was repeatedly chased back into the sea by people. Although seals normally live in the sea, they have a need for land-based areas to rest and feed, such as beaches. They can also fling themselves off rocks to escape human predators.
It is estimated that a pup’s chances of survival are 50 per cent in the wild, making it important to protect seals from being harassed by humans. The pups have to overcome a lot of challenges during their life, including predation by shore predators, disease, dehydration, and starvation.
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) said the pup was prevented from resting on the Northumberland beach.
It was “exhausted”, underweight and died overnight “despite the efforts of a local vet”, it said.
Medic Jane Hardy said she did not think it was intentional, but called for people to give the mammals more space.
“I don’t think people are intentionally chasing the seals back in the sea to do harm to them,” she said.
They assume, wrongly, that “seals need to be in the sea”, and drive them back in, she added.