First seal of the year spotted in River Adur

This is the first seal recorded in Sussex so far this year
This is the first seal recorded in Sussex so far this year
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A COMMON seal in the River Adur has been delighting walkers in the last week.

The seal was first spotted on Wednesday, when it was hauled out on the muddy flats at low tide. Since then, it has been spotted on several occasions.

Steve Savage, Sussex regional co-ordinator for Sea Watch Foundation, said the seal looked fit and healthy.

He has been studying the sea mammals off Sussex since 1991 and this is the first seal recorded so far this year.

Steve said: “It’s not unusual to see the occasional seal in Sussex rivers, which in fact are ideal places for seals in the winter months, as the river is relatively calm compared to the sea and due to their tidal nature are good sources of food.

“A seal’s behaviours is determined very much by the tide. At low tide, a seal is most likely to be hauled out on the mud resting. At high tide, the seal may swim down to the harbour mouth or further up river.”

The highest point this seal has been spotted so far is near Upper Beeding.

Along with British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Steve will be keeping an eye on the seal to make sure its stay in the river is uneventful.

“Seals have a protective layer of blubber to keep their core body temperature warm but it can also be used as a food source, so the seal will not need lots of food to sustain it,” he said.

“When a seal visits a river, it gives an great opportunity to see them up close in particular to photograph any unique markings.

“Unique spot marking on the body can help us to identify the Sussex seals as individuals and learn a lot more about what they get up to.”

Steve is keen to hear from anyone who spots this seal and also to see any photographs to help record any unique markings.

You can find out more about Sussex sea mammals on Steve’s weblog sussexmarinejottings.blogspot.co.uk and sightings can be reported at seawatch17@yahoo.co.uk. People are urged to enjoy sightings from a distance and not to approach the seal or other mammals.

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