Friday, 11 November 2011

Fight night

It’s fight night on Brownsman. The Grey Seal colonies on the Farnes are buzzing with activity as more and more pups are being born by the day and attentive mothers are protecting the young from the worst of the elements. However it’s not all peaceful as the Bulls have moved in…

Adult male Grey Seals, known as bulls, can weigh up to 50 stone and have only one thing on their mind. The biggest and strongest protect the best sites on the colonies, keeping a harem of cow seals, which they will mate with once the pupping season is over. However to protect the sites, bulls will fight and fight hard. Big battles can ensue and some bulls will fight to the death. Thankfully in most cases, the smaller of the two animals usually retreats to the sea and all ends well without blood being spilt (as shown in Graeme’s excellent video above).

However the team witnessed a horrific event today on Brownsman which will live long in the memory. A young pup managed to get tangled up in such a confrontation between two rival bulls and the result was fatal. As the two bulls squared up to each other, one decided to show strength and grab a two week old seal pup and throw the animal around as if it was a rag doll. The event took seconds, the bulls retreated, but for this young Seal pup, its life had been ended in a brutal way. It’s never dull out and this really is life on the edge and nature in rawest form.

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