Vigil for stranded seal pup

THIS little seal pup may have lost his mummy - but the women of Felixstowe soon came to the rescue.Beachwalkers kept a constant vigil to ensure the stranded pup was not attacked by dogs or thugs after it was spotted washed up at The Dip on Old Felixstowe.

THIS little seal pup may have lost his mummy - but the women of Felixstowe soon came to its rescue.

Beachwalkers kept a vigil to ensure the stranded pup was not attacked by dogs or thugs after it was washed up at The Dip on Old Felixstowe.

Today the pup, the third washed up on the beaches either side of the River Deben in just a month, was being cared for at the RSPCA's sea rescue centre in Norfolk.

This summer and autumn there have been more sightings of seals in the estuary around Felixstowe Ferry and Bawdsey than for many years and it is a thought a colony may have made the area, with its shifting sandbanks, their home.

The latest baby to become separated from its mother was spotted by beachwalkers about 2pm on Sunday.

At first they hoped mum would return to the pup, as it is not unusual for the parent to go hunting at sea and leave the offspring on shore for a while.

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But later they decided to contact rescue agencies and yesterday, when it became clear mum was not returning, the RSPCA sent an officer to collect the seal.

Penny Parker, of Old Felixstowe, said: "We were so worried about the pup being attacked by dogs off their leads or being tormented by youngsters as it is half-term week.

"From 7am we had volunteers on the beach keeping guard over him and making sure people kept their dogs on leads - a stream of women just came one after the other and offered to keep watch until the next arrived.

"Most people were very good and kept their dogs away, some mums brought their children to see the seal but because of the dreadful weather most people just stayed away.

"He may have lost his mummy but he was well looked after by the women of Felixstowe!"

Mrs Parker helped the RSPCA inspector to put the seal in a special harness to carry him off the beach at Cliff Road, to put it in a cage in the back of a van, to be taken to King's Lynn.

She said: "One of the things which made it difficult is there is no information on the beach how to help wildlife in distress. We have huge information boards and there are no phone numbers at all.

"We didn't want to leave the seal but had to get help, which is why the women who kept guard were vital."

A baby seal found at Bawdsey earlier this month went back into the sea, but one washed up near Cobbold's Point at Felixstowe taken to the RSPCA centre later died.

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