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More seal pups rescued as centre heads towards capacity, while there is good news in Blakeney as colony fairs well

PUBLISHED: 18:23 07 December 2013 | UPDATED: 16:23 08 December 2013

An injured seal at Blakeney.

An injured seal at Blakeney.

Archant

Seal pups from around the county continue to be rescued after being displaced during the recent flooding.

A seal arrives at East Winch Wildlife Centre.A seal arrives at East Winch Wildlife Centre.

Nearly 40 seal pups have been taken to East Winch Wildlife Centre with staff and volunteers working around the clock to care for them.

Most are coming from the area around Hemsby where the flooding separated many of the youngsters, who are just a few weeks old, from their mothers.

Alison Charles, manager of East Winch Wildlife Centre, said: “This couldn’t have happened at a worse time for the seals, as we are right at the height of the pupping season.

“We’ve never had to deal with anything like the conditions we saw on Thursday. We’ve had nearly 40 seals brought in already by our inspectors during the past two days, and we are expecting even more, even though all of our isolation pens are full.

“This is on top of the 50 seals we already had in before the surge, not to mention all of the hedgehogs, ducks and swans we’re rehabilitating as well.”

The centre is expecting to be in it for the long haul as seal rehabilitation takes between four and five months.

Keeping the pups healthy for such a long period is expensive and the centre asks that anyone wishing to help makes a donation to the RSPCA.

National Trust officers are also monitoring the large seal colony at Blakeney Point, in north Norfolk.

The large colony, which breeds at Blakeney Point each year, reaches in excess of 1000 seals and pups, from November to January.

The ranger team has that discovered the vast majority of the colony survived the extreme tidal surge.

There had been fears that many of the young pups, which can’t swim or survive without their mother’s milk until they have shed their distinctive white fur, would have been displaced from the colony or have lost their lives.

Members of the public have been urged to keep themselves and their dogs well away from any seals that have washed up along the coastline, for their own safety.

RSPCA inspector Nicola Thorne, who has been out assisting with many of the collections, said: “Seals can be quite aggressive. They look very cute, but they can give you a nasty bite that can become infected by bacteria living in the animal’s mouth.

“The geography along this stretch of coast means that it can take a while to find them when they are washed up.

“Anybody who sees a seal should leave them alone. It may be that their mother is looking for them or is not far away. If they look injured or distressed you should call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.”

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