There was sadness in Newhaven as Rusty the Seal gave birth, only to lose the pup hours later.
She has been a popular attraction in the town for the last few months, causing quite a stir on facebook.
When residents discovered she had given birth on Friday August 1 they were overjoyed, but this turned to sadness when they realised the pup had died on Saturday.
The charity the British Divers Marine Life Rescue had been keeping an eye on pregnant Rusty and collected the pup when it died.
A post mortem carried out by a local vet revealed fluid in the body which could indicate that the seal pup drowned.
Charity spokesperson Julia Cable said: “This suggests that it may have drowned but we don’t know that for sure.
“The water could have got in afterwards. There was no visible trauma to the body.”
She explained mortality rates amongst seal pups was high but that we usually do not see them die, because seals do not normally give birth in harbours.
Rusty is just one of four seals which have been spotted swimming around Newhaven Harbour in recent weeks.
Commenting on Facebook Gemma Bolus posted: “I think Rusty and Dusty are beautiful and a huge credit to have here in Newhaven.
“So sad that the pup didn’t survive but it’s nice to see Rusty is doing well.”
Carole Donaldson added: “So sad about Rusty’s pup, glad she is now back swimming though, keep the photos coming and thank you Marine Rescue.”
And Denise Shorer said: “It was great to chat to people on the harbour.
“Everyone was so pleased to see these wild animals in our harbour, so sad the pup died but it showed me how Newhaven people are smashing and loving people.
“I hope this camaraderie continues to save the West Beach.”