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First seal pup in Hampshire waters is born on the Beaulieu River

27th Feb 2024
Beaulieu River > River News > Wildlife > First seal pup in Hampshire waters is born on the Beaulieu River

A grey seal pup which was recently born on the Beaulieu River is believed to be the first of its kind in Hampshire waters. Conservationists have been keeping a watchful eye to give it every chance of survival.

The  Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour team has been safeguarding the pup from disturbance by river users, while working with Natural England, the Seal Alliance, British Divers Marine Life Rescue and Wild New Forest Guided Tours to help protect it.

Harbour Master Wendy Stowe said: “This is very exciting news, as grey seals don’t usually breed in these waters and we believe it is the first pup to survive here.

“We would like to thank all of our river users for acting responsibly and helping us to keep the seal pup safe and undisturbed during its all-important first month. We are looking forward to watching it grow and join the grey seal colony on the Beaulieu River.”

Seal pups grow at a very quick rate on a diet of high fat and protein milk from their mothers and this new pup has now survived its first month. Pups triple their body weight from 10 to 40kg in their first three weeks, as their white fur is replaced by a shorter patterned coat.

Grey seals are a native wildlife species which has naturally colonised on the Beaulieu River but only recently started to breed locally. Over a third of the world’s grey seals live in UK waters, with as many as 88% of those in Scotland.

They are not the only wildlife to make their home on the Beaulieu River, which is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) as well as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Its unique habitats provide a lifeline as a feeding ground for more than 200 species of birdlife. It has remained a special place by the custodianship of the Montagu family for over four centuries and the Beaulieu Estate takes a proactive role in promoting best practice standards.

That commitment is reflected in recent awards, with Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour being highly commended for its sustainability practices in The Yacht Harbour Association’s first Sustainable Marina Awards and receiving their International Clean Marina accreditation for helping to protect the UK’s oceans and waterways. It is also part of The Green Blue, a joint environmental programme by British Marine and the Royal Yachting Association which promotes sustainable boating for healthier waters.

Wendy Stowe added: “We feel fortunate to share such a wonderful area of the New Forest and have a duty of care to protect that environment and its inhabitants. We ask river users to continue to help us give this new pup the best chance for its future.”  

For tips on how to watch seals well, visit https://www.sealalliance.org/blog/give-seals-space

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