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Last Updated: Wednesday November 14 2007 18:37 GMT

Baby seals perish in bad weather

Seal pup

Loads of baby grey seals living off the UK coast have died after the bad weather last week.

It's not easy for the newborn seals on the Farne Islands to survive at the best of times, but huge waves have meant it's a fight for life.

Autumnwatch presenter Simon King said it looked like more pups than usual had perished in the stormy weather.

Storms have also forced thousands of Arctic seabirds, called little auks, to the islands over the past week.

Grey seals have lived on the Farnes for the past 800 years.

Every year about 1,200 pups are born and only half of them surive.

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This year more baby seals have died than usual and the exact figure isn't clear because the bad weather has made it difficult to estimate.

Mr King said: "Early signs are pretty grave. There is no doubt the colony has been severely affected by the great surge of waves that washed over the islands a few days ago."

It's thought that the 50,000 little auks, which are more used to the Arctic Circle than the Farnes Island, have moved there because of the stormy weather.



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