Two species of seal breed in the Netherlands, the grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) and the harbour seal (Phoca vitulina). The populations of both species have increased markedly over the past 40 years. Harbour seals have recovered from a minimum number of around 500 in 1980 to some 9,000 seals in 2016 (Figure 1). Grey seals were effectively absent from the Netherlands until 1980, but have made a remarkable recovery; the numbers counted during the annual moult increased to around 5,100 in 2016. The number of pups born each year for both species is equivalent to around 20% of the number of seals counted during the moult.
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