Scientists have discovered Atlantic grey seals make a huge maternal sacrifice for their pups.

A popular spot for observing the seals includes the 'Eilean's off Millport, Seamill and Skelmorlie.

“The mothers transfer huge amounts of their own body reserves, including about one third of their own bodyweight, without feeding themselves, to nourish their rapidly-growing pups that double their weights. The mothers then leave the pups onshore and go to sea, while the pups remain on land for another month or so before they too go to sea,” explained Professor Malcolm Kennedy, Professor of Natural History at the University of Glasgow.

“The pups have to be very well nourished in order to survive. The mothers sacrifice themselves to provide their pups with essential nutrients before they leave. This is significant because it shows that pups acquire substantial quantities of certain crucial nutrients to the extent that the mothers may deplete and endanger themselves.

"What makes mother seals stop feeding their pups and leave is not known.”

Scottish scientiets led by the University of Glasgow along with St Andrews and Strathclyde universities, have carried out the research.