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News article created on 8 July 2016

Volunteer seal spotters needed on the River Tees

We are on the look-out for volunteers to help monitor the behaviour of one of Britain’s best loved animals.

Seal Seal

We are is appealing for people to help monitor seal numbers on the River Tees as part of a study into their behaviour on the river.

A small team of volunteers is needed to work alongside experts from the Trust and the Industries Nature Conservation Association (INCA) to monitor grey seal and harbour seal numbers present in the river at the Tees Barrage during the peak migration period for salmon and sea trout.

Tell us what you see

Volunteers will record the numbers of seals, the species and the feeding behaviour during high tide times, for one hour. The surveys will be carried out from dry land using binoculars where necessary.

Similar surveys have taken place in previous years and the findings will be used as part of a study into the behavior and feeding patterns of seals in the barrage area.

Phillippa Baron, Trust ecologist, said: “For many people spotting the bobbing head of a seal in the river is a real joy but this is important work that will give us a much better understanding of seal behavior in and around the Barrage.

“This monitoring work will help to fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge and give us a fascinating insight into the seals’ lives.

“Although we’re not asking for any special skills or prior knowledge, it’s a great opportunity for anybody that’s into surveys and data to combine that interest with getting out in the fresh air and looking out for these amazing animals.”

Ideally volunteers will be able to give at least 10 hours to the task to gain the most from it and help achieve consistent data. Surveys will need to be carried out early in the morning, during the middle of the day and in the evening so volunteers would need to be available at these times.

Anyone interested in getting involved should be available for a training session at 3:45pm on the 19 July at the Tees Barrage. To book a space on the training email phillippa.baron@canalrivertrust.org.uk.