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June 2020 - Seals of the Solent

From time to time, we are reminded of how lucky we are living in the Solent area.  The presence of this harbour seal is a perfect example.

Also known as common seals, their first official sighting on the Solent was in 1994. Since then, a small population has slowly established, with around 43-50 Harbour Seals and several Grey Seals recorded in 2015.  This one was spotted on the Isle of Wight relaxing as the tide came in.  Chichester and Langstone harbours are also very important places for the seals, and the Solent is an ideal location for them to catch fish and rest on muddy banks.

Bird Aware Solent is a Partnership of Local Authorities and conservation organisations that help protected birds of the Solent by raising awareness of them.  The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust are a partner of Bird Aware Solent and their Senior Reserves Manager, Jamie Marsh, comments, 'the Solent is really special. We have the only known resident population of harbour seals in the eastern English Channel and the abundance of other wildlife, particularly birds, makes this an internationally important area.'

Councillor Seán Woodward is Chairman of the Partnership for South Hampshire (PfSH), a body that oversees Bird Aware, observes, 'spotting birds and wildlife like these seals adds to the excitement of visiting the coast. It's important that all of us give the animals lots of space to feed and rest as disturbance can have an adverse effect on them.'