Young seals on a beach - level 3

Young seals on a beach - level 3

20-12-2013 14:00

Stranded and alone, this is one of the hundreds of seal pups separated from their mothers after last week’s storm surge.

The East Winch Wildlife Center in Norfolk has taken in around 100 orphaned by the floods. The scale is unprecedented.

“We’re really, really inundated by seal pups that are affected by the surge tide. We had 50 pups in already, but we’ve now got another 50 odd in, so that makes us over 100 in care. That’s just incredible. We’ve never had that many seals in all the years I’ve been here and I’ve been here 20 years! So we are running off our feet.”

The pups are fed every four hours, something that may have to take place every day for the next five months until they’re fit enough to fend for themselves.

“Well, our work is going to be cut out. It’s going to be a long haul. It’s not a quick process rehabbing seals. We’ve got to try and get them on to fish and force feeding first, then hand feeding herring that we feed them and from there it’s just building them up and getting them fit enough for release. We’ll see how we do, but we’ve never dealt with this number ever before.”

The pups can’t survive on their own until they have shed their distinctive white fur.

“What we do need is people’s donations really to help us pay for these pups. It they’d like to sponsor a seal, that’s an even nicer way of supporting us. You know, just good wishes we’d like and good luck really from folks because we’ve got our work cut out.”

The staff at East Winch is hoping they’ll be able to give the pups a fighting chance and aim to return them to the wild.

Difficult words: stranded (abandoned), pup (young seal), storm surge (rising of the sea as a result of a storm), orphan (child whose parents are both dead), unprecedented (never happened so much before), be inundated (to receive so much that you cannot deal with it), tide (rising of the sea), odd (a little bit more than), run off your feet (have to work very hard or fast), fend (be able to live without help of the others), have your work cut out (have something very difficult to do), long haul (something that takes a lot of time and effort), rehab (make healthy again), herring (small silvery fish), shed (lose), distinctive (characteristic), fur (hair), folks (people).

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