Heligoland. First gray seal pups spotted on sand dune | NDR.de – News

Status: 11/11/2022 08:57

It’s that time again. A few days ago, the gray seal season started in Heligoland’s sand dunes, according to the Heligoland tourist service. This is just the beginning, there are hundreds more to come.

1996/97 After the birth of the first gray seal in Helgoland in winter, the number of births increases every year. Last winter, in the working season of 2021/2022, a new peak was recorded again. In January 2022, the Jordsand association, which takes care of the animals together with the municipality of Helgoland, reported that there were 679 young animals. As of Thursday, the first seven juveniles are now lying on the sand, with several hundred more to come. The gray seal population in Helgoland is under nature protection.

Gray seal pups. They need special protection during the first few weeks

A gray seal lies with its offspring on the beach.  © Rolf Blädel Photo:  Rolf Bladel:

Gray seal offspring need a lot of protection during the first few weeks. Mother animals are always nearby.

Young animals, which still wear white baby fur, lanugo or wool, when they are born, are extremely sensitive, especially during the first few weeks. It is therefore important that they are located in flood-protected areas of the beach. On land, their special fur provides the necessary warmth, but if they were in water, it would quickly absorb water and make it difficult for the animals to swim. In that case, the thermal insulation will no longer work.

However, some dairy cows carry their calves to water for some time. So, babies should get used to cold water. Of course, the cows bring out their calves again in time. That is why the connection between young and mother animals is extremely important. If they were disturbed by external factors, for example, people, then that connection can be broken. If the juveniles were forced to escape into the water, they would only survive for a short time. A good reason to keep at least 30 meters away from gray seals.

Additional information

A young gray seal in the water on a sandy beach in Heligoland.  © picture alliance/imageBROKER Photo: Thomas Hinsche

Several thousand gray seals live on the shores of northern Germany. They are especially easy to observe in Helgoland. more

A seal lies on a beach in Shilly while a stormy wind whips up the coast.  © dpa-Bildfunk Photo: Hauke-Christian Dittrich

Compared to 2021, fewer seals were counted in the Wadden Sea. Experts are carefully following the development of events. more

A view of Heligoland Red Rocks and Lang Anna.  © NDR / Oliver Kleber

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NDR 1 Wave North |: News for Schleswig-Holstein |: 11/11/2022 |: 08:00

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