Staff at RSPCA centre in East Winch prepared for influx of cute seal pups

With her big round eyes and soft fur coat, meet Mary Rose who was one of the first common seal pups to arrive at the RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre this season.

She was found at the fishing fleet in King's Lynn last Thursday and taken to the centre where staff are giving her constant care to help build her strength for a return to the wild.

She has also been joined by another adorable seal pup who has been named Scylla who was found the next day at the same location.

But staff at the wildlife centre are hoping that this year's intake of common seal pups does not reach last year's unprecedented number of 121.

Centre manager Alison Charles said it is not known why last year saw such record numbers, but she said staff were prepared for the next batch of common seals to come in.

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She also said the public can play their part in helping the common seals, especially the pups, by not rushing in to save a seal that may appear stranded.

She said: 'This time of year sees the start of the common seal season, last year we had 121 common seals in and we are hoping this year the numbers will not be quite as high.

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'Seal pups need an incredible amount of care to ensure they are fit enough to return to the wild and this involves three-hourly feeds together with careful nursing and monitoring because they are normally very dehydrated and emaciated on arrival at the centre.

'For the seals that are extremely poorly we place them on a drip when they first arrive in the hope of combating their dehydration.

'They are also given regular feeds to address the emaciation and, as with all starving animals, the feeds have to be little and often.

'The public are amazingly supportive and helpful when it comes to stranded seals, but we would just remind them to err on the side of caution.

'If they do find a small common pup on the beach we would urge them not to pick it up but to observe it from a distance, just in case its mum returns. They should also ensure that they keep dogs and people away from it.

Mrs Charles said a large percentage of common seal pups are found in the marshes on the edges of the Wash, last year pups came from all along the Norfolk coast from Terrington to Caister.

Within an hour of being born, a common seal pup can be in the water with its mum and it is during this crucial time that sometimes it can be separated from her in strong currents she added.

To report a seal in need of help, people should call the RSPCA's national call centre on 0300 1234 999.

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