These amazing pictures show a huge colony of rare grey seals on the Scottish coastline.
These amazing pictures show a huge colony of rare grey seals on the Scottish coastline.

In pictures: A record number of pups have been born in a seal colony in a Scottish Nature Reserve

A whopping 1,806 pups have been counted at St Abb's Head National Nature Reserve, in the Scottish Borders - just 13 years after no seals were recorded on the remote beaches.

Monday, 14th December 2020, 11:13 am
Updated Monday, 14th December 2020, 11:25 am

Grey seals, one of the rarest in the world, breed at the reserve from October to December, and conservationists are celebrating the recent explosion in numbers.

But Ciaran Hatsell, a ranger at St Abb's Head for the last ten years, issued a warning to the public not to approach the animals for 'sealfies'.

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Ciaran said: "Working in conservation it's not often we have a positive story it's great to have something to shout about.

"It's very exciting for us and it's a fantastic sign for the wider ecosystem.

"We don't know why this explosion has happened - we will need to do more studying to come up with the answer.

"Most of the beaches are isolated from the public, but there is one area on the reserve which is near a public footpath.

"We have installed fencing to stop people going to take 'sealfies' which can be extremely dangerous.

"In the past there have been horror stories of people picking up seals and we have had people putting their kids on the backs of seals for selfies."

In 2007 there was no colony at the nature reserve, but Ciaran said the boom in population is good news for the wider ecosystem.

He said: "To have this rise here is very special and I feel very privileged to be able to count and work with these animals.

"If you go back to 2007, there was no colony here at all and the population is still growing, which shows that the ecosystem is healthy and that they have plenty of food in the area."

Two counts are carried out in the peak of the pupping season in mid-late November, with most of the pups counted with binoculars.

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