We think we’re so lucky to share our beautiful Norfolk coastline with Grey Seals where each winter hundreds of pregnant females return to nearby beaches to give birth to their pups. (You can read more about the seals in our previous Blog).
However, they face many hazards, both natural and otherwise, and in 2012 The Friends of Horsey Seals was set up to formalise the work of volunteer wardens monitoring the seals after funding cuts to Natural England. The aim of FOHS is to protect the grey seal population from disturbance by the public as thousands of people visit the most popular site at Horsey during the course of the winter and sometimes, due to a lack of understanding, were not only putting themselves at risk by getting too close to seals and pups on the beach but were also causing mothers to abandon pups if disturbed by dogs or people and even trying to push pups into the sea believing they had been abandoned by their mothers. Seal pups need to moult their fluffy white fur before they start their life at sea and can easily drown if pushed into the sea too soon. If they are left alone on the beach, their mother is probably close by feeding and will return soon.
The Friends of Horsey Seals provide volunteer seal wardens, trained to recognise and understand the needs of the seals and equipment to step in to help rescue pups if needed. They aim to ensure that visitors take advantage of the viewing points in the dunes where they can safely observe the seals without causing disturbance and answer questions from visitors to improve understanding of the seal colony.
We’d like to help and from January 2016 will offer an optional £1 donation to The Friends of Horsey Seals on every booking made at Dairy Barns. We hope you’ll help us support their work by ticking the box on our booking farm to give just £1. We hope to raise around £700 over the course of the year which helps provide paths and ropes to mark paths and train and equip volunteers as well as pay for their second-hand 4-wheel drive vehicle for seal rescues.
If you’d like to support them, why not buy a membership to Friends of Horsey Seals (a great Christmas stocking filler!). Just £5.50 gives regular newsletters and members’ access to their website. Please see www.friendsofhorseyseals.com or if you’re lucky enough to visit the seals at Horsey, speak to a volunteer, pick up a leaflet and maybe buy a souvenir.