Bully Boy

We were transfixed. Watching the seals interact was fascinating. There’s a lot happening on Norfolk beaches at the moment.

Much has been in the media of late concerning the disturbance of Grey Seals. A pup was allegedly chased into the sea by children this week. It drowned as seal pups must undergo an initial moult before they enter the sea so they can contend with the chilling water. Another seal pup was surrounded by selfie-takers to a point where it’s mother completely abandoned it. Indeed it is illegal to kill, take, injure or cause injury to a Grey Seal under the Conservation of Seals Act (1970) (unless it’s damaging fishing nets) Some of the ignorance I have seen in the past is beyond my patience. However, observing (and photographing) from the dune tops it’s obvious the seals themselves have not read the legislation.

As is often the case a young seal was left temporarily by its mother. However, the little chap was seeking attention from anyone and anything that was close-by. Unfortunately, having been rejected by a succession of females the little mite tried to latch on to a large bull. The bull was nothing less than chased by the youngster. The bull repeatedly lolloped away, as only large Grey Seals can, only to be followed to and fro by the whining little pup. The bull eventually tired of the pantomime, picked up the pup by the spine and threw it a good three metres down the beach. Needless to say the pup was not undamaged by the interaction and suffered some life threatening wounds.

The moral of this story is: “keep away from the seal pups”. They have enough to contend with without any human disturbance. There are more African Elephants on the planet than there are Grey Seals. If the beaches were full of Elephants would we tolerate disturbance? The winter beaches in Norfolk are our Serengeti. It’s a world wildlife spectacle. Something we should protect, respect and watch in awe … from a distance.

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Dec 2019


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