Poorly pups prompt seal crisis concerns at Norfolk animal sanctuary

The RSPCA Centre at East Winch are appealing for towels to help care for the seals at the centre. Pi

The RSPCA Centre at East Winch are appealing for towels to help care for the seals at the centre. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Staff at a Norfolk animal sanctuary say they fear a 'seal crisis' this year, as their facility fills up with poorly pups.

The RSPCA Centre at East Winch is getting set for another influx of poorly sea pups. Picture: Ian Bu

The RSPCA Centre at East Winch is getting set for another influx of poorly sea pups. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

The RSPCA centre at East Winch has issued the warning at the start of what it predicts will be a busy winter.

It fears it could see itself stretched in a similar way to last year, when it had to cope with more than 100 seal pups, left injured and stranded after the tidal surge of last December.

This year, the sanctuary already has far more common seals in its care with 15 in isolation, compared to a usual level of around two.

They also have around 40 common seals in total – more than expected – with the number of grey seals expected to rise in the coming weeks.


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Supervisor Kevin Leighton said: 'We are hoping we can get the common seals out before the grey ones arrive. But we are running out of space and when we normally get a window from when the commons leave and the greys arrive.

'But we are also worried about another tidal surge happening again. Hopefully it will work out ok.'

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Manager Alison Charles added that winter typically brings on stormy weather – which can cause huge problems for seals and their pups.

She said: 'If we experience the same kind of storm battering we did last year then it will be tough.

'The 108 pups we had in really stretched us because they require a lot of intensive care.

'The rehabilitation of seal pups is a real marathon, it can take months for them to become fighting fit, strong and healthy enough to be released back into the wild.

'Space really was at a premium last year and our existing cubicles were having to house four or five seals rather than the usual two, while other animals were having to take up residence in other areas of the hospital in makeshift pens so that we could make room for as many animals as we could.

Have you got a wildlife story? Email Natalie Copeland at natalie.copeland@archant.co.uk or write to The Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE with your full contact details.

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