Over 700 seals found in first ever Thames Estuary land, sea and air count

First ever count reveals over 700 seals in Thames Estuary

Over 700 seals have been spotted in the Thames Estuary after the first ever count by land, sea, and air.

The count was conducted by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), and conservationists as well as volunteers spotted 708 grey and harbour seals in the Thames.

Around 500 harbour seals and 200 of the larger grey seals were found in the count, which used boats, aircraft and simple foot power to survey the outer sandbanks of the estuary, as well as small creeks and rivers, reports the Independent.

The survey coincided with the animal's annual sea moult, when the seals head to the sandbanks to shed coats and grow a new layer in time for the colder winter, which made them easier to spot.

Stephen Mowat, ZSL's Thames Projects Manager told the Daily Telegraph: "The harbour seal population in south-east England is the least understood in the country. As well as the survey, we are urging members of the public to report sightings of seals and other marine mammals to us."

And ZSL's conservation scientist Joanna Barker told the Independent: "We knew there were a lot of seals in the Thames but 708 is pretty incredible.

"Now we know the numbers and where they are, it can help with conservation".

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