This lovely creature, sometimes called the ‘Roman Seal’ because of its distinctive nose, is found mainly around rocky northern and western coasts and islands. Seals love to haul themselves out between tides, often in very large groups, and can be seen lolling playfully on rocks waiting for lift off from the incoming tide, or watching humans intently from the sea. They were the first mammals ever to be protected (in 1914) and now half the world population lives in British waters. They are protected in the breeding season, and this has helped populations affected by flu viruses several times since 1988. Fishermen and salmon farmers argue for culls, but recent research shows that their diet is primarily sand eels. They breed from October to November in traditional sites such as the Farne Islands, giving birth to white fluffy pups which can live for up to 40 years of age.