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Watch: Seal captured in tussle with huge pike in Norwich river

PUBLISHED: 12:40 18 November 2020 | UPDATED: 08:46 19 November 2020

Seal grappling with fish caught in the River Wensum in the centre of Norwich. Picture: Donna Wood

Seal grappling with fish caught in the River Wensum in the centre of Norwich. Picture: Donna Wood

Donna Wood

When one of the Broads’ most ferocious underwater predators met a voracious sea creature there was only ever going to be one winner.

Seal in the River Wensum near Carrow Bridge in Norwich. Picture: Kate InglisSeal in the River Wensum near Carrow Bridge in Norwich. Picture: Kate Inglis

But this unusual encounter between a seal and a pike - two species which would not normally mingle - took place in the centre of Norwich, a remarkable 27 miles inland.

The tussle between the predator and prey was captured by passers-by at Carrow Bridge on Tuesday afternoon.

MORE: Seal causing ‘complete carnage’ in Norwich river, claims fisherman

The seal taking on the huge fish is thought to be a male grey, more commonly found along the coast.

Seal grappling with fish caught in the River Wensum in the centre of Norwich. Picture: Donna WoodSeal grappling with fish caught in the River Wensum in the centre of Norwich. Picture: Donna Wood

Kate Inglis, who captured video of the encounter, said: “We spotted the seal under Carrow Bridge. It seemed very content with its meal!

“I know it’s been seen in the river before but not sure if there have been recent sightings.”

Donna Wood, who lives nearby and also took pictures and video of the unusual sighting, added: “He came up to the surface with the fish freshly caught.”

Seal grappling with fish caught in the River Wensum in the centre of Norwich. Picture: Donna WoodSeal grappling with fish caught in the River Wensum in the centre of Norwich. Picture: Donna Wood

It is the latest sighting of a seal in River Wensum close to the centre of the city, far from their normal coastal habitat.

Last autumn a seal was spotted at Fye Bridge and beside Norwich Playhouse where it was also pictured after catching a large fish.

Seals rarely stay in one place for a very long time, as they are known to travel thousands of kilometres a year all across the British coast.

Seal grappling with fish caught in the River Wensum in the centre of Norwich. Picture: Donna WoodSeal grappling with fish caught in the River Wensum in the centre of Norwich. Picture: Donna Wood

Seal and Shore Watch UK said they are solitary creatures, and it is not uncommon for them to travel miles to find areas where there are large supplies of fish and no competition from other seals.

MORE: 1.2km fence goes up at Winterton beach to protect seal pups from ‘idiots’

Sightings on the Broads are said to be more common on the southern rivers - with seals crossing Breydon Water - but are more of a rarity on northern rivers such as the Bure, Yare and Wensum.

The presence of seals so far inland may be a novelty for those who catch a glimpse, but not everyone is happy.

Seal in the River Wensum near Carrow Bridge in Norwich. Picture: Donna WoodSeal in the River Wensum near Carrow Bridge in Norwich. Picture: Donna Wood

Fishermen are concerned about the impact on the population of carp and pike in the river, which they claimed dwindled significantly after the arrival of a seal last autumn.


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