Danger warning as sea surge sweeps away coast's seals
DOZENS of disorientated – and potentially dangerous – seals could turn up in unusual areas of the coast after a "freak" tidal wave hit Donna Nook .
The "extremely traumatic" act of nature saw a tidal surge sweep over the 880 seals that migrate to the nature reserve to give birth and carry them far away from the beach.
Defensive mothers have turned up in dog-walking hotspots among the dunes – where they would not normally rest – and lost pups were swept out as far as Sutton-on-Sea and Mablethorpe.
Now Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, which manages the site, is warning ramblers and dog walkers to be aware that the seals could become aggressive if approached.
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Dog walkers, in particular, are being asked to keep their pets on leads when in the area, both for the safety of the seals and their pets.
Spokeswoman for the charity Rachel Shaw said: "The seals have been dispersed by the tide. So instead of them being where they normally rest, they are turning up in other, unusual places.
"Some have been moved further north and are in the dunes, which is very dangerous, especially to dog walkers, as we usually encourage them to walk their dogs there, rather than on the beach.
"It is a very upsetting thing to happen. The seal colony has a very low mortality rate.
"It is a very safe beach for them to pup, but obviously they are still susceptible to natural influences.
"This was an extremely high tide, certainly the highest the wardens have seen. Some locals have said it was the largest they had seen in 30 years."
It is thought many of the young pups will have been separated from their mothers and of those, few will survive. It is the first time it has happened in a number of years.
The nature reserve was forced to close temporarily after the tide bashed down the protective fence separating the seals from the public.
The majority of the seals have started to return to the colony and the exact number of fatalities will not be known until at least next week.
Warden Rob Scott said: "The seals were clearly very distressed and unhappy by the tidal surge. Now they could be far and wide. The mothers will get very aggressive and defensive. Even the pups who have been separated from their mothers have teeth.
"But if they are new-born, they will not survive, if they are a couple of weeks old they might be OK.
"It has caused upset, and it isn't nice to think about what it might have been like for them. It would have been a very traumatic experience."