Tyne & Wear

Farne Islands seal pups' 'remarkable' journey

seal pup
Image caption The pups will be released back into the wild

Three grey seal pups survived a journey of hundreds of miles after being swept away from the Farne Islands in stormy weather.

The pups, which had been marked with dye, were found on a Dutch beach more than 300 miles away from the Northumberland islands.

National Trust head warden for the Farne Islands David Steel said their survival was remarkable.

They are now recovering at a seal rescue centre in the Netherlands.

The first pup, which was less than three weeks old when it made the journey, was found on 13 December. The other two were found on 6 and 7 January.

'Mammoth journey'

Mr Steel 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."

Once they have put enough weight on they will be released back into the wild.

Newly-born seals on the Farne Islands are tagged with dye with the colour rotated for every colony count.

Two of the seals had blue dye, putting their birth about 30 November, and the third had yellow dye, meaning it was born in mid-November.

Mr Steel said: "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."

The trust said the survival rate of grey seals in the sea around the Islands was low with more than 45% of pups not surviving the winter months.

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