Why is this news? Because wildlife experts believe the new pups are twins–possibly a first for gray seals.
The Farne Islands are known for their large seal colony. About 1,500 pups are born there every year, but there are no records of multiple births ever occurring on the islands.
“It is biologically possible for seals to conceive twins, but the female would usually abort one fetus prior to birth as she wouldn’t have the resources to feed both pups,” explained Alisa Hall, acting director of the Sea Mammal Research Unit.
“Should the pups survive the rangers can take DNA sample from the pups and we will test it just like you would a human to see if the pups came from the same mother,” she continued.
David Steel, the National Trust ranger who spotted the pups, had recently been monitoring the mother.
“On the small rocky beach, two pups were together, wet and bloody, with the mother in attendance,” said Steel. “It was evident that both had just been born and with no other female in this area of the island.”
You can see adorable pictures of the pups on Steel’s blog.
Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.