COULD this picture show that Keith the seal has been joined by a friend as the animal roams the river Severn in Worcestershire?

Russell Farraday could not believe his eyes when he spotted not one but two seals frolicking on the flooded meadow at the back of his home in Hanley Castle, near Upton. Mr Farraday, aged 64, said the pair could be seen swimming and ‘oinking’ at each other as they enjoyed the waters on Saturday.

But before Keith fans get carried away, Alan Ottaway, spokesman for the Seal Protection Action Group, said it did not necessarily mean they were partners or the possibility of the pitter-patter of tiny flippers. “It might be a couple of youngsters who are sticking together or theoretically there is the possibility that it is the mother and her young but it is really hard to say without seeing them,” he said. Mr Farraday, of the Rhydd, Hanley Castle, believed the seals may have been in the area for a couple of days. On Friday, his daughter Erica Timbrell, 31, had been walking the dog near the meadow when she heard splashing which upset her pet.

Mr Farraday said: “We have an interest in the river, living next to it, and have been following the stories of the seal which – although it has been called Keith – may in fact be a female.

“I went to the edge of the water and looked out and that’s when I saw the pair of them. I ran back in, got my camera and watched them with my wife. They were probably there for three or four minutes.”

The recent flood waters have allowed Keith to move up and downstream in the river Severn since she was first spotted in November.

Since then she has been seen in the river Severn at Bewdley, Stourport, Worcester and Upton, delighting onlookers. However, not everyone has been excited about the seal’s arrival.

River Severn conservationists and anglers had warned that the mammal was damaging fish stocks.