DNA samples aim to prove seals are twins
DNA samples have been taken from two grey seal pups on the Farne Islands that aims to confirm that they are twins.
National Trust wardens, with a little help from the Sea Mammal Research Unit, managed to get close enough to the pair on Sunday to collect samples that have now been sent off for analysis.
If the pair turn out to be twins - and the wardens are 99.9 per cent sure that will be the case - it would be the first confirmed case of grey seals giving birth to twins.
Head warden David Steel said: “A DNA sample has been taken from both pups so we can prove without doubt that we do have a pair of grey seal twins – the first ever wild documented occurrence.”
“Even bigger news – both pups were male! As part of the process, we also took their body weights which are hovering around the 31kg mark – so a healthy return and hopefully they’ll be heading for a huge success. Their mother deserves a gold medal!”
The pair were born on Brownsman Island around October 21-22 so are now well on the way to becoming fully independent.
Meanwhile, the number of seal pups born on the Farnes this autumn has broken the 1,000 barrier, making it another successful year for England’s biggest grey seal colony.
David said: “The settled weather over the weekend allowed us to venture out onto the islands to continue the survey work and with 254 new pups sprayed we have now reached an impressive 1,141 pups.
“Staple Island boasts the largest number with 327 pups whilst South Wamses is hot on the heels with a noteworthy 325 pups. Births (and counting) will continue over the next three weeks as we aim to break the 1,500 pup barrier for the second consecutive year.”
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Weather for Berwick-Upon-Tweed
Sunday 26 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: South west
Temperature: 7 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: South