More seal pups found in danger after weeks of storms
- Credit: Jo Collins
An unusually high number of seals are being found on the Suffolk coast in need of help, after weeks of storms and cold weather during the birthing season have left pups underweight and injured.
Two pups were found on the shore at Felixstowe on Sunday, the latest in a string of seals found with injuries or in a life-threatening condition.
One was released back into the sea with a superficial back wound, while the other had to be kept in overnight as it was freezing cold and underweight.
Jo Collins, from Ipswich, volunteers as the British Divers Marine Life Rescue area coordinator for Suffolk and Norfolk alongside her office job which she does three days a week.
"The second pup we found on Sunday is malting its white coat so must be at least four weeks old, which is when they start finding their own food," she explained.
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"It hasn't got enough blubber on it to keep it warm which means it hasn't eaten enough.
"I can give it fluids, but the general problem is there aren't enough rehab spaces to meet the demand so we are limited on how many we can help."
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Volunteer medics go out to assess the seals when they're reported by the public, they're then either released or taken to a vet who can treat injuries or decide they need to be put down — such as the young pup found in Felixstowe on Friday with a nasty eye infection.
Mrs Collins added: "We are constantly having trouble with dog owners when pups are found on the beaches, they need to be more responsible as the dogs can get hurt or injure the seals.
"Members of the public do get involved and can be very good at reporting to us, but if they get too close they can get a nasty bite which will be infected with the bacteria from the seal's mouth.
"The public sometimes think seals need to be in the sea at all times but they do come ashore, if you're worried we'd much rather you call us to come help."
The charity is also asking for people to donate old towels as they use these on rescues and have gone through a lot lately, local medics may be available and would be happy to collect them.
If you find a seal in danger in Norfolk or Suffolk call BDMLR on 01825 765546.