Sanctuary set for busy winter

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The half-term school holidays may be over, and the tourist season may be easing off - but there will be no chance to rest for staff at the Natureland Seal Sanctuary in the coming weeks and months.

For as well as important winter season maintenance, the popular tourist site is gearing up for the first arrivals from the newborn Grey Seal populations.

The huge Donna Nook population has already begun calving, and as with every year, that can only make it a matter of time before the first stranded, lost or undernourished pups begin to appear on local beaches.

Natureland’s Duncan Yeadon said: “From now until Christmas is the time when grey seal pups are born - mainly at Donna Nook but also round the Wash - so we’re on alert waiting for our first grey seal pup of the season.

“Last year around 1,300 pups were born at Donna Nook.

“Most are successfully reared by their mums, but there are always some that are separated by the tides or bad weather, and that’s when we get involved.

“One of the main differences between harbour seals and greys is that greys are born with their white, fluffy coat and remain on the beaches for the first three or four weeks of life.

“The other difference is that grey seals are a lot more aggressive so we have to take a more cautious approach to them - they don’t realise we are trying to help them,” he added.

Meanwhile, the sanctuary is also keeping busy working on maintenance of its facilities , buildings and plants now that their busiest time for visitors has passed.

The site remains open throughout the year, but the quieter months give them the perfect chance to prepare for the next busy summer.

“Unfortunately, we can’t just sit with our feet up over winter,” joked Duncan. “We’re already stuck into our maintenance.”