Seal tours on the Thames

By | Category: Travel news

waiting for the seal-watching boats?

Surely it cannot be far away before some entrepreneur offers visitors to central London the chance of a boat tour to see the 700 plus harbour and grey seals that are to be found up and down the River Thames.

The announcement by the Zoological Society that the annual count of seals had found so many is a bit of a surprise. We are used to media stories about the odd one or two (like the one a month or so ago that was up by Fulham’s, football ground) but that there are so many was not known. Back in 2007, the Society only counted just more than 100 sightings and that included dolphins and porpoises. Such an increase in just six years confirms that the Thames is becoming a major place to view wildlife.

To those of you in Pembrokeshire, Cardigan Bay, the Scottish Isles and countless other places, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. You have seal-watching tours. There are tours from the Isle of Sheppey in Kent and a few others but they are virtually in the Channel. This gives an opportunity for day trips for those visiting central London to see them. At Billingsgate Fish Market in Docklands there are a few to be seen in the hope of a dumped fish or two but on the sandbanks the Society says there are up to 120. I would have thought a seal tour covering those banks was a money spinner!

Given that these seals are close to London and that London is one of the most explored and visited places, I was a bit surprised at the comment of Stephen Mowat, the Society’s Thames Projects Manager who said that the harbour seal population in south-east England is the least understood in the country. So, you can do your bit by reporting any seal sightings in your travels. Click here for a downloadable form

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