March 7 2014 Latest news:
Sunday, December 8, 2013
While Norfolk’s seal populations were hit hard by last week’s tidal surge and flooding it looks as if they may have fared better than it was first believed.
Seals at Blakeney Point and Hemsby were washed out to sea during Thursday nights extreme tides but many have now washed up or swam back to land along the shore.
The floods came at the worst possible time for them as during the pupping season with many youngsters now separated from their mothers.
Rescued pups from across the county are now being taken to East Winch Wildlife Centre, near King’s Lynn, where they are being fed and treated but the centre is now over capacity.
Centre manager Alison Charles said: “We’ve never ever had anything like this before.
“Usually you get a steady trickle of them but to get this many and in two days is crazy.
“It is unlikely that we are going to be able to save all them but we will give it our best shot.
“One common seal that was in the first lot was sadly lost but the team have been doing a fantastic job.
“Many of them are only a few weeks old and we are feeding them on a fish soup mixture but we can’t emulate what their mother’s milk would give them.
“They are going to be losing weight at the time when they should be gaining it.”
The centre was already caring for 50 seals from the around the area before Thursday’s floods.
Now hedgehogs and birds have had to make way for the pups with box rooms being turned into seal pens.
The office Christmas party has been cancelled as the 140 hedgehogs have moved into the visitor centre and staff are working around the clock to care for their new charges.
More seals could be coming in with inspectors and wardens still searching the coast around Blakeney and Hemsby for stragglers.
Mrs Charles said: “The staff are absolutely exhausted already but they are working very hard.
“It is going to be about a month until we’ll be able to get them settled and unfortunately it comes over Christmas when we lose a lot of our volunteers.
“The staff have a lot of experience of seals and are very smooth with it all. It is just a case of the sheer numbers.”
To sponsor a seal visit http://www.rspca-eastwinch-wildlifecentre.co.uk/