Lianne shares this latest news from Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. Ed
The secrets of the local Solent seal population have been revealed by a new aerial survey by the Wildlife Trust, with the support of Dean & Reddyhoff who run marinas in Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Dorset.
The first seal survey was back in 1994, when just three harbour seals were recorded. The Wildlife Trust and partners at Chichester and Langstone Harbour Authorities aim to repeat the aerial survey each August when the seals moult.
Around 50 seals
This year’s survey found that a minimum of 49 harbour seals – including 11 pups – and 7 grey seals are currently resident in the Solent.
The areas surveyed were Langstone Harbour, Chichester Harbour, Portsmouth Harbour, Ryde sand banks, Beaulieu and Newtown Creek.
The survey was made possible thanks to Dean & Reddyhoff, who funded the flight and sourced a plane and pilot. They have also raised an additional £1,077 for local marine wildlife work through their berth holders party and Big Green Cycle Ride events.
Secrets of the Solent project
The survey forms part of the Wildlife Trust’s developing Secrets of the Solent project, which aims to protect and celebrate marine wildlife and heritage of the Solent, with the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Rayner Piper, Secrets of the Solent Project Manager at Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust said:
“Our huge thanks to marina operator Dean & Reddyhoff for helping make the survey happen and to pilot Steve Tyas. We would also like to acknowledge the help and support of Chichester Harbour Conservancy and Langstone Harbour Authority for contributing their findings to the survey.
“We know now that our Solent seals seem to be slowly increasing in numbers, which is great news as elsewhere in the UK, harbour seal populations are in steep decline. We are looking forward to next year’s survey which we hope will include Newtown Creek, an area where a number of seals have been reported this year.”
Image: © Grey seal in surf © Tom Marshall