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Research reveals the extent of grey seals’ maternal sacrifice

Source: gla.ac.uk

Atlantic grey seals, the largest of the two seal species found around British, northern European and North American and Canadian shores, make a huge maternal sacrifice for their pups, new research has revealed.

A collaboration of Scottish scientists, led by the University of Glasgow along with St Andrews and Strathclyde universities, has discovered new aspects of the fast that seal mothers go through for around 20 days while nursing their pups.

“The mothers transfer huge amounts of their own body reserves, including about one third of their own bodyweight, without feeding themselves, to nourish their rapidly-growing pups that double their weights. The mothers then leave the pups onshore and go to sea, while the pups remain on land for another month or so before they too go to sea,” explained Professor Malcolm Kennedy, Professor of Natural History at the University of Glasgow. MORE

Header image: Patrick Pomeroy.

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