Storm Arwen: Rescued seal pups exhausted and dehydrated

Rescued seal pups exhausted and dehydrated after Storm Arwen separated them from their mothers

12/4/2021 4:51:00 PM

Rescued seal pups exhausted and dehydrated after Storm Arwen separated them from their mothers

Rescuers say they are working 'non-stop' to help washed-up pups along the north-east England coast.

Image caption,Volunteers say they have experienced an "unprecedented" number of call-outs to injured seal pups following the stormVolunteers helping injured seal pups in the aftermath of Storm Arwen have helped more than 50 animals along the north-east of England coast.

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Strong winds and stormy seas resulted in many young grey seals becoming separated from their mothers.The level of calls was "unprecedented" and the work had been "emotional", British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) said.The pups have been taken to vets for treatment or sent for rehabilitation.

Image source,Image caption,An exhausted seal is checked over by BDMLR volunteers on the beachAndy Sisson, the Northumberland coordinator for BDMLR, said: "It has been unprecedented in the amount of seal pups we've attended."It's been very emotional and everyone involved, the volunteers and the vets have gone the extra mile to check these little guys out." headtopics.com

He said 14 volunteers had been checking out seal pups found washed up exhausted and dehydrated.Image source,Image caption,BDMLR volunteers have been helped by HM Coastguard to rescue some of the pupsMany were old enough to be rehydrated and given antibiotics on the beach before being monitored as they made their way back to the sea.

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Others who had injuries or who had not yet been weaned were taken to vets for emergency medical treatment.They then start their rehabilitation to reach a weight of 30kg (66lbs 2oz) before they are released back into the sea.Image source,Image caption,

This young pup named Crunchy Nut was rescued from the beach at NewbigginAt Tynemouth Seal Hospital, a seal pup named Crunchy Nut has recovering from injuries suffered in the storm. At risk of suffering hypothermia, he was picked up from Newbiggin-by-the-Sea.

At about four weeks old, the pup has had a traumatic experience.Manager of Tynemouth Seal Hospital Richard Ilderston said: "For the first three to four weeks of their lives seals are shore-bound relying on their mothers for food."Crunchy Nut is doing well, he was aggressive when I fed him fish soup through a syringe this morning, which proves he's feeling better than he was and we'll keep a close eye on him to get his injuries healed before he starts his rehabilitation." headtopics.com

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Image source,Image caption,Crunchy Nut will spend around three months being rehabilitated before releaseHe is being cared for along with two others - named Porridge and Waffle - who were brought to the hospital just before the storm.Picked up in Redcar and Beadnell, both were injured and over the next three months the three pups will be looked after by volunteers round the clock.

"They will be given a diet of fish soup before moving on to whole fish and when the pups get the idea of eating they are fed underwater in a special pen to make sure they can swim and get used to finding fish by themselves, and at that stage we take a step back with human contact," said Mr Ilderston.

'Tucked away'It is expected volunteers will continue to receive calls for the next two to three days as casualties continue to be spotted."Seals that have been tucked away in rocks that are bigger pups have started hauling out on the beaches with injuries and exhaustion," Mr Sisson said.

"We try not to keep them at the vets longer than a day so it has been a busy time trying to find rehabilitation places. We had four pups yesterday who were flown from Eshott airfield to a specialist seal hospital in Cornwall," he said.Eight other rescued pups are now being treated at Hessilhead Wildlife in Scotland. headtopics.com

Some pups were not so lucky and many were washed up dead by the storm and about 11 had to be put down because of the severity of their injuries.

Read more: BBC News (UK) »

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