Three-week-old seal pups survive 350-mile swim25/01/2011 07:16:13
All three pups survived the mammoth journey
The first of the ‘Farne Island three' was found on the December 13 past year and was less than three weeks old when it made the 350-mile journey. After being found by a member of the public it was taken to a seal rescue centre in Holland.
All recovering well from ordeal
David Steel, National Trust Head Warden for the Farne Islands, said: ‘This is a remarkable tale of determination and survival in the turbulent waters of the North Sea. For three young grey seal pups to make it through such an ordeal is amazing.' Late November and early December saw easterly winds and stormy seas around the Farne Islands which would have played a part in sweeping the seal pups far out into the sea.
Pups don't normally leave colony until they are weaned
The colours are rotated during every colony count; two of the seals had blue dye putting their birth around November 30, and the third pup had yellow dye, putting its birth date at around mid November.
Home to one of the largest grey seal colonies in England, the islands are also famous for its seabirds, which include puffins. In 2008, otter prints were discovered on Brownsman Island after the mammal braved the swirls and tides of the area around the Farne Islands. Mr Steel added: ‘The two pups with the blue dye would have still been dependent on their parents and the third pup would have only just gained its independence when they began their mammoth journey. Young pups have been discovered along the Northumberland coastline but this a real rarity.'
Stormy seas mean survival is tough
The survival rate of grey seals in the stormy sea around the islands is low with more than 45 per cent of pups not surviving the winter months. Previous records suggest that older seals from the Islands have made it as far as Norway and the Faroe Islands.