Author: Beth Thompson

Recycling Symbols Explained

Reduce, reuse, recycle. It’s a tune we’re all familiar with, and a message that has been clear since the 1970’s…Or has it? Recycling can sometimes seem overwhelming, with packaging covered in seemingly endless symbols, with different meanings in different places.

As part of Autumn Clean Cymru 2020, our Living Seas Team would like to help clear things up! Below is a guide to the more commonly found recycling symbols, explaining what it is that they mean, and how to sort your waste with ease.

Symbols

The Mobius Loop symbol

The Mobius Loop – a familiar symbol: three arrows arranged in a triangular shape, facing clockwise. This symbol means that an item can be recycled! It does not mean that the product itself is made from recycled materials, however sometimes a % symbol is present alongside the Mobius Loop to indicate this.

The Plastic Resin Codes 1-7 symbols

Plastic Resin Codes – again, a familiar symbol: three arrows arranged in a triangular shape, facing clockwise, but this time with a number in the middle. This symbol is only found on plastic products, and appropriate disposal depends on the number:
• 1 – 2: Generally, easily recycled.
• 3 – 4: Can usually be recycled, although it can vary depending on locality. We would recommend checking with your local council before disposing of these products.
• 5 – 7: Cannot be recycled easily yet.

Widely Recycled symbol

Widely Recycled – a green arrow rotating clockwise. In this case the product is generally recyclable, by over 75% of local authorities in the UK. Sometimes this symbol will include additional wording/instructions, for example “rinse”. These instructions should be followed, as it helps recycling centres to protect from contamination and reduce the risk of attracting unwanted guests to recycling facilities!

Check Locally symbol

Check Locally – a black/white arrow rotating clockwise. In this case the product can only be recycled by between 20% – 75% of local authorities in the UK. This means that it is worth checking that the item is collected in your area before you place the product in the recycle bin!

The Green Dot symbol

The Green Dot – a symbol composed of two interlacing arrows (usually green) in a circle. This symbol is a little bit tricky and is not quite what it seems…the Green Dot means that the manufacturer has made a financial contribution to recycling services in Europe…it does not mean that the product is recyclable.

Recyclable Aluminium symbol

Recyclable aluminium – two arrows, rotating clockwise, with “alu” in the centre. This symbol means that the product is made of recyclable aluminium. Ensure that the product has been cleaned fully, and, in most cases, you can place it in the recycling!

Recyclable Steel symbol

Recyclable steel – A magnet attracting a steel can. This symbol indicates that the product is made of steel. All local authorities will collect steel cans and recycle them!

Glass symbol

Glass – Three arrows arranged in a triangular shape, facing clockwise, with a stick person in the centre, placing a bottle in a bin. This symbol asks you to recycle the glass product. Glass can be appropriately disposed of at a bottle bank, or through kerbside collection – if your local council offers this. Glass recycling can seem a little complicated, as not all glass types can be recycled. A lot of this relates to the colour of the glass, and subsequent melting temperature. You can learn more here.

The Tidyman symbol

Tidyman – A stick person, disposing of waste in a bin. Fairly familiar to most, the Tidyman symbol originates from Keep Britain Tidy. It simply acts as a reminder to dispose of your waste appropriately. It does not necessarily mean that the product is recyclable.

Compostable symbol

Compostable – a fancy number six, with sprouting leaves. Products, including plastics, bearing this symbol are compostable. This means they should not be put in your normal recycling. Instead, place them in your food or garden waste bin.

FSC symbol © FSC

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) – A tick which morphs into a deciduous tree. The FSC logo can be found on wood-based products from well managed forests – independently certified in line with the FSC’s rules. Wood and timber are generally not accepted in your household recycling, however, can be taken to local waste recycling facilities.

In short:

Ven diagram showing the various recycling symbols under the categories “Recycle me!” and “Do NOT recycle me!” © Living Seas Wales

Check locally

What does checking locally – the middle area on our ven diagram – mean? You can use the Wales Recycles website to find out more about which products can be appropriately disposed of by your local council. Simply select “recycling at home” and enter your postcode to learn more!

You should always double checking how waste disposal is managed in your local area, particularly if you have recently moved, as disposal and recycling services will vary between local councils.

Why should we recycle?

Hopefully, if you’ve made it to this point in the article, you’re already recycling at least some products from around your home! If not, you may be thinking “why should I”? It can seem like a lot of work to have to, in some cases, clean and then sort your waste products appropriately. So why bother?

Gulls feeding at Veolia Landfill Site, Essex © Terry Whittaker/2020VISION

    • Recycling makes a difference: Currently, in the UK, recycling is estimated to save between 10 – 15 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually – that’s the same as taking 3.5 million cars off the road!
    • Recycling saves natural resources: Once recycling has been collected, it will be sorted, bailed, and then transported to reprocesses to be made into brand new products! The fibres in paper, for example, could go on to be used in egg cartons, loft insulation, or even new road surfaces! And, because the product is being reused, it also stops trees and forests being chopped down to create the same product!
    • Recycling protects wildlife: By saving natural resources, fewer forests are cut down, and less wildlife is displaced. Recycling, and disposing of waste appropriately, also stops waste from entering and polluting our environment.
    • Recycling saves energy: If we take aluminium as an example, recycling can save up to 95% of the energy needed to produce the same product from the raw materials. It’s estimated that the energy saved by recycling, instead of producing, just one aluminium can, can power a TV for 3 hours!
    • Herring Gull and Plastic pollution © Jason Burk / CBMWC

      Recycling fights climate change: Who knew your yoghurt pot could be so powerful?! Because recycling uses less energy, it also produced lower carbon emissions than processing raw materials.

    • Recycling is good for the economy: In 2017, a London council stated that “it is six times cheaper to dispose of recycled waste than general waste”. Not only does recycling save money, it also creates jobs in a green economy!
    • It does get easier: Cleaning and sorting your waste will eventually become as second nature as washing your hands after you’ve used the bathroom! Particularly if you generally buy the same products, with the same packaging, week on week, you’ll soon be recycling like a pro!

Convinced? We certainly are.

Conscious consumerism

There are, of course, further steps. Recycling is, after all, the third R in the legendary jingle!

  • Reuse: by reusing products, such as glass jars or plastic takeaway tubs, you can get the most out of a product before recycling it. Re-using items in this way can also help you to reduce the amount of the product you would purchase in the first place – imagine how many plastic bottles you could save by re-using one for a week, rather than buying a fresh one daily! (We’ve done the maths: you’d purchase 52 bottles, rather than 364 – that’s 312 fewer bottles annually, and, assuming you shop at Tesco and buy a single 500ml bottle, a saving of £118.56 a year!
  • Reduce: as you can see above, reusing products can naturally help you to reduce the quantity that you buy. But by consciously shifting your product choices you can make even more of a difference – not just to the environment, but also to your bank account. Let’s use the example above: before, you used 364 plastic bottles a year, costing you £138.32 annually; you’ve started reusing your plastic bottles and now use 52 – one a week – costing you £19.76 per year; say you decide to reduce your product consumption further, and purchase a reusable metal bottle, you can pick up a 570ml one from the same retailer for £12; stainless steel bottles are estimated to last an average of 12 years before they need replacing – now you’re reducing the amount of product you purchase, and need ultimately to recycle, you’re paying an average of only £1.00 a year for a water bottle! Before, £1.00 would be enough to last 2.63 days. Before, 12 years-worth of bottles would cost you £1,659.84…it now costs you £12.

Sunset at Penbryn, Ceredigion © Beth Thompson / CBMWC

If the environmental impact that reducing, reusing, and recycling, can and does have isn’t enough to convince you, perhaps the economic benefits will.

🎶 In short: reduce, reuse, and recycle! 🎶

What is an Oil Spill?

Over the past month we’ve watched as the MV Wakashio has leaked approximately 1,000 tonnes of oil into the pristine waters, and surrounding reefs, of Mauritius. The ship, which hit a coral reef on the 25th of July 2020, and subsequent oil spill, has threatened corals, fish, and other marine life, in what some scientists suggest could be the worst ecological disaster that Mauritius has ever seen.

Early estimates from the US analytics company, Ursa Space Systems, as of the 11th of August 2020, found that the spill was covering an area of 27 square kilometres. Given that the ship ran aground in a sanctuary for rare wildlife, and close to a wetlands designated as a site of international importance, this is particularly concerning.

The MV Wakashio oil spill is by no means the first, or worst, of its kind, and it is, unfortunately, unlikely to be the last. Oil spills have reached every ocean globally, including waters closer to home. But more on that in a moment. First, let’s establish some basics.

What are oil spills?

According to Dictionary.com, an oil spill is the “accidental release of oil into a body of water, as from a tanker, offshore rig, or underwater pipeline, often presenting a hazard to marine life and the environment”. Oil spills are, as noted above, generally accidental, however there have been cases historically, as during the Gulf War, where spills were instead intentional. This would, however, generally be considered a rarity.

Thames shipping near Canvey Island and the Coryton Oil Refinery. Essex. © Terry Whittaker / 2020VISION

What causes oil spills?

Accidental oil spills into bodies of water can be caused by human error, equipment breaking or failing, or by natural disasters. Investigations are generally carried out to determine the cause of a spill.

What happens during/directly after an oil spill?

As oil enters the water it will generally float – very heavy oil will occasionally sink in freshwater systems – and begin to spread, forming a thin layer on the surface. We call this an oil slick. We can actively see slicks or sheens on the water, and you are actually likely to have seen smaller versions on road surfaces – they resemble a rainbow.

As this oil spreads, it can be very harmful to wildlife and communities in its wake.

Why are they a problem for wildlife?

Oil spills can have devastating consequences on marine and coastal wildlife. Particularly those that spend time on the surface of the ocean, or on the shoreline.

Atlantic grey seal pup © Manon Chaurtard / CBMWC

Fur-bearing mammals and birds

For fur-bearing mammals, such as sea otters and seal pups, oil can destroy the insulating ability of their fur. Similarly, when coated in oil, birds’ feathers will lose their ability to repel water. In both cases, the affected individuals are completely exposed to the environment, and the ocean around them; and are therefore unable to protect themselves from the elements. Many may suffer from hypothermia, and subsequently die.

Bottlenose dolphin surfacing © Dr Sarah Perry / CBMWC

Dolphins, whales and turtles

Species without fur or feathers, including charismatic animals such as dolphins, whales, and turtles, are also affected. Dolphins and whales may inhale oil as they surface, which can subsequently affect their lungs, immune system, and reproduction. Whilst sea turtles, and a number of other animals, may ingest oil, either by mistaking it for food or attempting to clean themselves. Oil is, perhaps unsurprisingly, poisonous if ingested.

Since the MV Wakashio ran aground last month, at least 17 dolphins have been found dead on the coast of Mauritius.  Postmortem investigations are ongoing to determine the cause of death.

Shanny © Dr Sarah Perry / CBMWC

Fish

Even organisms which do not directly encounter the slick at the surface, are affected. Adult fish can experience changes in growth rate, heart rate, and reproductive rates, as well as enlargement of the liver. For fish eggs and larvae, the effects can be even more severe, with spills often proving lethal.

Why are they a problem for coastal communities?

For coastal communities, a reduction in fish stock in this way, is not only a concern ecologically, but also in terms of food supply and the local economy.

Fishermen, ecotourism businesses, and environmental charities, to name a few, can all be negatively affected by the aftereffects of oil spills. Potentially leaving the environment, and economy – depending on the severity of the spill – in a state of disrepair for years to come.

Oil spills in Welsh waters

Historic spills in Welsh waters

Wales has seen its share of oil spills over the years. With perhaps the most infamous being the Sea Empress oil spill in 1996, and the Christos Bitas oil disaster in 1978. Both of these spills took place off the Pembrokeshire coastline and were caused by the ships running aground on rocks, spilling 73,000 tonnes and 5,000 tonnes of oil respectively.

Data from the time showed that, as a result of the 1978 spill, 1,520 sea birds were covered in oil, of which 68%, a huge 1,035 died, alongside 3 Atlantic grey seals who were residing around Skomer Island.

Male Common Scoter © Derek Moore

The Sea Empress spill, which released over fourteen times the amount of oil compared to the Christos Bitas disaster, was equally catastrophic for marine life, with around 1/3 of the local scoter population believed to have been killed in the spill. However, a report from two years later, remarked of how the area was recovering well – partly due to luck (timing, wind direction, oil type), and largely due to the monumental clean-up effort that followed.

And so, oil spills are not necessarily just a catastrophic event that we see in the news, happening in far off places. They will, have, and indeed may happen again, in waters closer to home.

Laura Evans, our Living Seas Wales Project Officer, at one of our ‘Memory Pod’ events © CBMWC

The Sea and Me

We are interested to hear from anyone who recalls either of the aforementioned oil spills, the Sea Empress (1996) and Christos Bitas (1978), as part of our marine memories project: The Sea and Me. We are looking to record your stories of the marine environment, and marine wildlife, with the hope of being able to use these conversations, to push back historical conservation baselines.

Now what does that mean? It means we will be able to gain a greater understanding of what the marine environment use to look like, what it looks like today, and how it might look going in to the future. There are real applications from this project to shape how we can best protect and conserve our oceans going forward. 

If you are able to contribute, please feel free to submit your memories via our website, or drop an email to our Living Seas Engagement Officer, Beth, at livingseas@welshwildlife.org.

Thank you.

Main Image: “Clean Up After a Big Oil Spill” by NOAA’s National Ocean Service, which is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

National Marine Week 2020

This year National Marine Week will be running from Saturday the 25th of July, until the 9th of August! We are pleased to announce that the theme for this year is…explore the shore!

What is National Marine Week?

Shoreline in New Quay, Ceredigion © Laura Evans / CBMWC

National Marine Week is The Wildlife Trusts’ nationwide celebration of all things marine – from the depths of the ocean, to the coastal shallows! Despite the name, this “week” lasts a whole 15 days, to allow for the variation in tide times around the country.

What’s new for National Marine Week 2020?

Usually our Living Seas Team would be out and about running a whole host of fun-filled events, from seashore safaris to beach cleans. This year, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, we have had to adapt – but don’t you worry we’ve squeezed in more exciting content than ever for you, your family and friends to enjoy!

We’ll be virtually celebrating all things shoreline, meaning, whether you live by the coast or in the middle of the country, you too can get involved! Join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where we’ll be sharing a wide range of DIY events and activities over the 15-day period! From exploring the strandline, to showing you how you can carry out a community clean, we’re excited to connect with you online!

Throughout the week we’ll also be sharing with you our top tips on how you can save the sea, from anywhere and everywhere!

For our full program of events and activities, please see the timetable below:

National Marine Week 2020 © Living Seas Wales

How can you get involved?

Wonderful artwork previously sent in to CBMWC, by 8-year old Freya © CBMWC / Freya

No matter where you are joining us from, you can connect with our Living Seas Team by sending in your photos or artwork. We’ll be sharing our favourite submissions throughout the week!

Be sure to use the hashtag #NationalMarineWeek!

What can I do if I don’t use social media?

We know that social media isn’t for everyone. If you’d still like to get involved with National Marine Week, but don’t have access to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you can take part by downloading our range of marine-themed activity sheets (see below), or keeping an eye on the CBMWC YouTube channel for DIY activities to be revealed throughout the week!

What can I do if I can’t get to the coast?

Our Living Seas Team (Photo taken prior to COVID-19) © Living Seas Wales

Because our National Marine Week activities are occurring virtually this year, anyone can take part! Even if you don’t live by the coast there are ways that you can still get involved!

We look forward to seeing you all (virtually) on the shore, very soon!

 

COVID-19 DISCLAIMER

⚠️ If you do spend time on the shoreline then please ensure you adhere to Welsh Government COVID-19 guidelines and respect our fragile marine wildlife⚠️

Litter during Lockdown

Throughout lockdown, many people have turned to nature as a source of comfort, beauty, and inspiration. We are learning as a society just how valued our wild spaces are to us, as places to get much needed headspace, exercise, and fresh air.

Monster can on Traeth Gwyn Beach © Beth Thompson / CBMWC

Over the past few weeks many have welcomed the slight easing of lockdown restrictions here in Wales. Being able to travel within 5 miles of our doorsteps has allowed many people to return to their favourite local parks, beaches, and woodlands.

However, alongside the return of people to our wild spaces, we have seen a rather ugly shadow. Litter. 

Beach cleans, carried out by Living Seas Wales staff, over the past week, have collected: food wrappers, drinks bottles, fishing tackle, cigarettes, socks (!!), cans, dog poo bags, ice cream sticks, takeaway tubs/wrappings and even a toy car! And this is just a small selection.

However, it is not just discarded litter that is causing a problem. The bins in the photo below are situated just off our local beach here in New Quay and are a mere 35 steps apart – a 20 second walk.

 

Bins in New Quay, Ceredigion © Beth Thompson / CBMWC

One is practically empty, the other is overflowing.

Whilst enjoying the outdoors we ask that you consider the effect that your actions may have, not just on others, but on the environment. Think about how you are going to dispose of your litter: 

  • Can your waste be reused? Reusable plastic bags and bottles are not made to be disposed of after one use. Make sure you make the most out of them and the money you have spent to buy them in the first place! Or better still, invest in a fully reusable cloth bag or metal bottle. 
  • Toy car found on Harbour Beach, New Quay © Beth Thompson / CBMWC

    Can your waste be recycled? If so, make sure it goes in the right bin. Incorrect sorting of litter can lead to cross-contamination, and recyclables needlessly going to landfill.

  • Can you take your waste home? If the local bins are full, or if you are disposing of glass or BBQs, you should be taking your litter home with you to dispose of appropriately.  

We all have a responsibility to look after our environment. Many of us often remark that we are lucky to live in such a beautiful place. Let’s work together to keep it that way. 

Thank you. 

Herring Gull and Plastic pollution © Jason Burk / CBMWC

A note on litter picking: When litter picking we would always recommend using either gloves or, ideally, a litter picker. Ensuring you yourself do not come in to contact with the waste, now more than ever, is important. Litter pickers are available for public use at 2-minute beach clean stations across the UK and Ireland. Please remember to exercise personal hygiene before and after touching any communal equipment.

Main Image: Disposable cup found above Dolau Beach © Beth Thompson / CBMWC

Discover Marine Wildlife!

For many people out there, parents in particular, lockdown has provided a new challenge…teaching. With most schools in Wales being closed to all except the children of critical workers, and pupils considered vulnerable, lessons have moved from the classroom to the kitchen table. 

Exploring the hidden world of rockpools © CBMWC

However, it is not just traditional learning that has been affected by lockdown. Our Living Seas team would usually be delivering a whole range of educational activities to local children and holiday makers alike. From exploring the hidden world of rockpools, to spotting for dolphins and porpoises; our education events aim to increase your understanding and appreciation of the world around us, and the species that we are fortunate enough to share it with. 

Until it is safe to do so, our education events are on hold. But this does not mean we have forgotten about them, or you! 

Dolphin Detective © CBMWC/Living Seas Wales

Bird Bonanza © CBMWC/Living Seas Wales

Several of our activities have found a new, virtual platform, and are now available for viewing on Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre’s YouTube channel: 

With more sessions being adapted and recorded as lockdown continues, expect to see more content for your home schooling very soon! 

You can keep an eye on our Marine Education Series here!

For those of you looking for additional resources for your mini Marine Biologists, we would recommend our activity/craft sheets. As well as those provided through Wildlife Watch, the junior branch of The Wildlife Trusts.

Don’t forget to sign up to 30 Days Wild, to do one wild thing a day throughout the month of June! 

Main Image: Spotting for dolphins in New Quay © Jay Burk / CBMWC

Marine Mammal Skulls (and Crossbones)

A table with various mammal skulls on it.

The ‘Skull and Crossbones’ flag traditionally associated with pirates is, clearly, not the only skull found in/on the ocean. Invertebrates, such as jellyfish and octopus, do not have a vertebral column – meaning they are without a spine, or bones. However, other marine species, including our charismatic marine mammals, do have both skulls and (cross)bones!

Why should we study bones?

Looking at, and studying bones, can provide researchers with insights into the life that an organism once lived. Where the bones in question belong to an extinct species, we can learn more about organisms we will never see.

Lower jaw and teeth – Bottlenose dolphin © CBMWC

Skulls are no different. Animal skulls have evolved for millions of years for various purposes: protecting the brain and sensory organs, being one example. However they also have a role in behaviour, meaning that by studying skulls we can learn more about the diet and social patterns of the species in question.

Skull Basics

  • Teeth: Can indicate diet or hunting method. There are four different types of teeth: incisors, canines, premolars and molars. Generally herbivores (vegetation-eaters) have large incisors to graze on vegetation, and premolars/molars to grind their food. Carnivores (meat-eaters) on the other hand have small incisors, large canines and sharp premolars/molars. Omnivores (eat anything) will have all four teeth types, but their size will vary depending on the species.
  • Eyes: Eye size and location can indicate if a species is a ‘hunter’ or ‘prey’. Hunters (carnivores and/or omnivores) generally have large and forward facing eyes, allowing them to have binocular vision and good depth perception. Prey (herbivores) instead tend to have sideways facing eyes, to watch for approaching threats (i.e. predators).

Life in the ocean has seen various adaptations of these ‘general rules’ (i.e. cetaceans are more reliant on hearing/echolocation to ‘see’ their environment, than they are on their eyes – even though they are hunters).

Marine Mammal Skulls

Bottlenose dolphin (Dolffin trwyn potel)

Bottlenose dolphin skull

Bottlenose dolphin skull © CBMWC

Latin Name: Tursiops truncatus.

Skull size: This specimen is approximately 60cm in length.

Size of species: Bottlenose dolphins can grow up to 4m in length here in Cardigan Bay.

Key skull characteristics:

A) As a species which can grow up to 4m in length, the bottlenose dolphin has the largest skull of the marine mammals discussed here. They also have a long, prominent beak.

B) The nostrils point upwards allowing bottlenose dolphins to breathe easily when they surface. This is important because, like us, bottlenose dolphins are mammals.

C) You will see between 18 and 26 teeth on each side of the upper and lower jaws (that’s 72 to 104 teeth!), however these are not used to chew! Instead bottlenose dolphins swallow their meals whole!

Distribution in Wales: Bottlenose dolphins are generally found in coastal waters across north, west, and parts of south-west Wales. They can be found in Cardigan Bay all year round, with this being one of only two locations across the UK where the populations are confirmed as semi-resident.

Fun fact: Bottlenose dolphins produce distinctive, individual whistles by passing air through air sacs in their heads.

 

Common dolphin (Dolffin cyffredin)

Common dolphin skull © CBMWC

Latin Name: Delphinus delphis.

Skull size: This specimen is approximately 42cm in length.

Size of species: Common dolphins grow up to around 2m in length.

Key skull characteristics:

A) Because they grow to around 2m in length, common dolphin skulls are much smaller than those of bottlenose dolphins. Again, you will notice a prominent beak.

B) The nostrils point upwards allowing common dolphins to breathe easily when they surface. This is important because, like us, common dolphins are mammals.

C) Common dolphins have sharp, conical shaped teeth. Though, like bottlenoses, they are not used for chewing – they prefer to swallow their food whole!

Distribution in Wales: Common dolphins are generally an offshore species, however are sighted off the coast of Pembrokeshire more frequently than other coastal areas around Wales.

Fun fact: Common dolphins prefer to swim in deeper waters, and can sometimes be found in huge ‘super-pods’, made up of thousands of individuals.

 

Harbour porpoise (Llamhidydd harbwr)

Harbour porpoise skull © CBMWC

Latin Name: Phocoena phocoena.

Skull size: This specimen is approximately 26cm in length.

Size of species: Harbour porpoise reach lengths of only 1.5m – 2m.

Key skull characteristics:

A) As the smallest cetacean found in the UK, measuring just 1.5 – 2m in length, the harbour porpoise has a small skull. 

B) The nostrils point upwards allowing harbour porpoise to breathe easily when they surface. This is important because, like us, harbour porpoise are mammals.

C) Harbour porpoise have spade-shaped teeth which can be found in their – relatively – short beak.  

Distribution in Wales: Harbour porpoise are mostly seen within 6 miles of land across the entirety of the Welsh coast. Despite being shy, they are the most commonly sighted UK cetacean species. 

Fun fact: Harbour porpoise are generally quite shy, and are often found swimming alone – unlike dolphins!    

 

Atlantic grey seal (Sêl lwyd atlantig)

Atlantic grey seal skull © CBMWC

Latin Name: Halichoerus grypus.

Skull size: This specimen is approximately 24cm in length.

Size of species: Males Atlantic grey seals can grow up to 3m in length, while females reach up to around 2m.

Key skull characteristics:

A) Atlantic grey seals have large eye sockets for their large eyes. They rely on sight to hunt in dark, murky waters, and also have specialised lenses to focus well underwater.

B) Nostrils are front facing – just like ours! These can be opened and closed using special muscles.

C) Their teeth are very similar to those of a dog: sharp, conical, and perfect for eating fish! 

Distribution in Wales: Atlantic grey seals are found across the entirety of the Welsh coast, with around 5,500 individuals found in Cardigan Bay alone. Nearly half of the worlds population is found in the UK.

Fun skull fact: Crabeater seals (found in Antarctica) have sieve-like tooth structures to filter their favourite food: krill.

 

 

For more information about our native marine mammal species, why not check out our National Dolphin Day blog post. Or alternatively use CBMWC’s YouTube channel to learn more!

 

 

Disclaimer: Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre holds the appropriate licences to store skulls/bones in this way.

 

 

Main image: Various mammal skulls at our ‘Magnificent Mammals’ event at The Welsh Wildlife Centre © CBMWC