FIVE new seal pups have arrived in the colony this year, with chances of more additions by Christmas.

South Walney Nature Reserve is home to the only grey seal colony in Cumbria and staff at Cumbria Wildlife Trust, which run South Walney Nature Reserve, confirmed a number of baby seals had been born.

Although unable to get too close to the colony for fear of disturbing the pups, staff were able to identify the new arrivals with their live webcam.

Using the live seal webcam, the reserve was able to count 316 seals, which is five times more than when the colony population first started 15 years ago.

Sarah Dalrymple, warden of South Walney Nature Reserve, said the rising numbers are a 'positive sign' for the colony.

She said: "We've had five new pups this winter and might have more by December

"It's about the same number as last year unless more arrive before February."

Ms Dalrymple said the seal colony is thriving because they are not being disturbed.

He said: "Unlike the rest of us, the seals have had a very normal year this year.

"The numbers keep increasing because people aren't going down to see them or disturbing them.

"They can see the seals using our seal cam or in the sea around the Walney channel."

Ms Dalrymple said numbers have 'shot up' since the colony first began over a decade ago.

"Last February was our highest ever seal count at 480," she said.

"We've come really far bearing in mind there was only 50 seals 15 years ago - things have really shot up.

"I think a major reason for this is the wind farms off Walney. They provide solid bases like a reef which means more fish and more food for the seals.

"They eat shell fish, star fish, all sorts and there's more for them to eat in this area.

"We've had five pups this year which is a really positive sign that they like their habitat and its a nice, peaceful place for them."