They are cute and cuddly and now Lincolnshire’s grey seals have secured a place in the record books.
Figures released show 1,899 seal pups were born at the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust’s Donna Nook site this winter - 90 more than the previous best in 2014.
However, it is too late for visitors to see the pups as, according to the Trust, only 16 were still at the site’s viewing area yesterday (Monday) - and no adults.
That compared with a figure of 650 adult bulls (males) and 1,542 cows (females) at the end of November.
The Trust is based in Horncastle and spokeswoman Rachel Shaw confirmed officials were delighted with the figure.
She went on to thank staff, volunteers and visitors for making it such a successful year.
It’s understood the mild weather in November and December helped boost the total of pups.
Sarah Turner, from Horncastle, said she had visited the site four times.
She added: “It was brilliant and my kids thought it was wonderful. The numbers have dropped off since Christmas but it was still well worth a visit.”
Rebecca Wright, who lives near Louth, said viewing the seals had become an ‘annual fixture’ for her family.
She said: “We go as often as we can. There are programmes on the TV about seals but to see them close up - almost on your doorstep - is even better.”
Figures show the seals bring in millions of pounds to the local economy, attracting visitors from all over the country.