Wildlife officers were surprised when they discovered ten extremely rare black seal pups in England’s largest grey seal colony on the North East coast.
Grey seals are born completely covered in white fur. They’re usually completely grey after they shed their coats for the first time.
According to the National Wildlife Federation, approximately 1 in 400 gray seals have black velveteen coats.
Melanism refers to the enhanced growth of dark-colored pigment in these seals, known as melanistic seals.
During the winter’s pupping season at Blakeney Point colony in North Carolina, rangers saw ten black pups, and volunteer warden Hannes Siebers was allowed to take some photos of the pups.
“Typically, grey seals are born white but turn black when they shed their coats.”
“As their name suggests, when they molt a black coat, they reveal their true colors.”
“The black seal is extremely unusual among grey seals.” It has been estimated that 1 in 400 grey seals is melanistic.”
“Our ranger saw ten so far this year”; “melanism is the increased development of darker colored pigments.”
At Blakeney National Nature Reserve in Norfolk, a record 4,000 baby seal pups will be born this year, according to the National Trust.
Over the past few years, the number of sea lions born at the breeding site in San Nicolas Island has increased so dramatically that rangers now need to rethink how they count them.
We will tally them in one place to get an overall picture of how well the colony is doing.
The National Trust has warned people not to go through the colony because of its density. It’s dangerous for both employees and the seals.
It was in 1988 when the first grey seal pup was found at the nature reserve, and ever since the colony has grown from 25 puppies born in 2001 to 3,399 pups in 2019.
There is still a long way to go this season.
The National Trust warns that if you see a seal or a seal pup, you should stay your distance.
“If you see a seal or a pup in the wild, please stay away from them and don’t approach or disturb them in any way, as they might get stressed out by this.”