We met four beautiful pups who are currently being looked after by the Sanctuary - grey seals pup in winter, and the young stay with their mothers for a short three weeks before they’re off fending for themselves.
They are born with white fur, and as they grow they shed their baby fluff to become mottled shades of grey by the time they leave their mums.
I’ve been to see the baby seals on the beaches at Donna Nook (an incredible place to visit!) so I’d seen the little white seals that look like hot water bottle cases at first, before they start drinking the very high fat milk and quickly turn into velvety rugby balls!
The seals we met and drew were all in need of a bit of TLC and to gain some weight before they will be re-released back into the wild.
Brilliantly, of all the seals the sanctuary take in, it’s incredibly rare that they aren’t able to get them back on their flippers and out into the seas again - there are only a couple of grey seals that have had to stay at the centre as long term residents.
The sanctuary helps the pups learn how to seal, before sending them off well-fed and well-prepared for life in the wild.
The seals woo-ed and wah-ed, their eerie sounds echoing around the rescue centre as we met each one and learned a bit more about their stories. I quickly sketched and drew as the seals moved around and ate some fish. It was a lovely way to watch and tune into these powerful little beings
Males are darker and females are lighter grey, often with a two-tone colouration. The mottled marks on their backs are unique, and one of the ways you can identify and recognise individual seals.
Here are some of my sketches from the morning…
Sapphire, a young male who liked to sit on his flippers to keep them warm
Verity, a young female, much lighter in colour
Squid, a very young seal who still has his baby fur
Tikey, a young male with a beautiful dark velvety coat