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16 September, 2021

It can be hard to fight eco anxiety and stay positive, especially in the wake of extreme weather events this summer. But focusing on the positives helps us see the progress we have made and encourages us to keep working towards a more sustainable future.

This week, results of the latest annual seal count have revealed a thriving seal population in the Thames, with conservationists counting more than 3,500 of our flippered friends. This is great news, as seals are vital predators in the Thames estuary’s ecosystem.

Numbers in this year’s count are lower than in 2019 (the 2020 count was cancelled due to the pandemic). But conservationists aren’t worried about this – the important thing is that the long-term trend is showing more and more seals in the river.

The Thames has come a long way since 1957, when the Manchester Guardian described it as “a vast, foul-smelling drain”, and the Natural History Museum declared it biologically dead. Changes to sewage treatment, tighter regulations, and other conservation efforts over the last 60 years have drastically improved water quality, allowing the river’s ecosystem to thrive.

So next time you’re by the river, why not try and spot some seals for yourself? You can even report your sighting to help conservationists to protect these marvellous mammals – there’s nothing fishy about that!

By Miriam Shovel

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