Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary issues guidance after influx of rescued seal pups

A common seal. Picture: Ian Burt

A common seal. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary has issued guidance for beach-goers after an influx of rescued seal pups.

The common seal breeding season is underway, and sanctuary is already caring for ten casualties.

Seal expert Hollie Stephenson said: 'During the summer months our beaches are so busy there will be lots of occasions when people come across seal pups.

'This is a double-edged sword for the seals, as it means a better chance of a pup in trouble getting help, but also a greater chance of people inadvertently causing problems.

'People often assume that a solitary pup must have been abandoned, when in most cases its mother will have left it temporarily to go and catch food.'

Pudding, a grey seal who was rescued earlier this year, was released back into the wild after months of work carried out by Hunstanton's the Sea Life rehabilitation team.

The team want to avoid unnecessary rescues and a potential overload of the sanctuary's rescue and rehab operation and staff have issued the following guidance.

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If anyone spies a seemingly abandoned seal pup they should:

• Keep watch from as far away as possible – ideally for at least an hour, preferably two.

• Warn other beach-users to keep their distance.

• Advise anyone with a dog or dogs to steer well clear as dogs will sometimes instinctively start to worry an abandoned pup and may bite.

• If there is no sign of mum after at least an hour's vigil, or if the pup is clearly injured, then alert either the RSPCA or the sanctuary on 01485 533576.

• Under no circumstances attempt to pick up or handle the pup. They may be cute, but they are wild animals with powerful teeth and can cause a nasty injury.

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