First photos of Weimaraner the baby seal after dramatic rescue from River Orwell in Ipswich
PUBLISHED: 17:20 03 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:20 03 August 2017
The RSPCA has provided an update on how the seal pup rescued from the River Orwell in Ipswich is recovering today.
Rescuers faced a race against time to save the underweight and fatigued young pup from the river near the Sir Bobby Robson Bridge on Tuesday evening.
Fire and RSPCA crews performed a dramatic rescue mission to save the baby seal. The young pup, which was no more than eight weeks old, had become stranded on the weir and a member of the public alerted officers from the RSPCA.
The seal was spotted clinging to the weir but moved back under water when specialist firefighters arrived in front of an anxious crowd in West End Road.
Firefighters managed to locate the seal at around 6pm amid a rising tide and brought him up to safety, prompting a large cheer. They were first called to the scene at 4.45pm.
He was taken to the RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre near Kings Lynn, where he has since been named Weimaraner. The centre is naming rescued seals after breeds of dog this year.
A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “We are extremely grateful to the fire service for their efforts in helping this poor seal, who we believe is probably only around six to eight weeks old.
“The RSPCA Animal Collection Officer Naemi Kilbey who attended the rescue was very concerned for the welfare of the seal which appeared very underweight and fatigued and may not have survived another night out in the water.
“The male common seal pup may have been separated from his mum and washed up by the tide. Unlike grey seals, common seals pups shed their white coat in utero and take to the water soon after birth.
“He has been taken to the RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre where he is currently being cared for, he is emaciated and weighs 9.4 kilograms. He has a wound to his lip, which has caused his swollen muzzle and he is being treated with antibiotics.”
It is not yet known if he will make a full recovery. If he does, he will be released back to the wild.
It is not uncommon for seals to find their way into harbours or rivers, and have been known to travel quite far inland.
They are usually looking for food and generally find their way out to sea again, unless they are sick, when they will haul themselves out of the water.
Occasionally, seals may come into trouble if they pass canal locks, weirs or similar obstructions as they can prevent them travelling back down river to the sea.
If you see a seal swimming and appears healthy, it should be left alone, the RSPCA advises. If the seal is at risk, cannot get back due to river obstruction such as a lock or weir, is sick or injured, or if its a pup and the mother has not returned for 24 hours, please contact the RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.