Dozens of Storm-battered seal pups rescued by RSPCA

image captionYoung seals are hand-fed at the centres

Dozens of sick juvenile seals caught up in the stormy weather are being treated at RSPCA wildlife centres.

The RSPCA is treating nearly 60 "very sick" seals. It said many were rescued during the past few days when parts of England saw winds of more than 100mph.

The charity said the rough weather came at the worst time possible for pups, who had just been weaned and were learning to fend for themselves.

The seals are being treated in Norfolk, Somerset, East Sussex and Cheshire.

The RSPCA rescues seals every year, but said figures were currently high because of the timing of stormy weather in December and January.

Norfolk's East Winch Wildlife Centre, which has specialist facilities for seals, is caring for more than 20 which have been rescued recently.

Fisherman 'shared catch'

Centre manager Alison Charles said: "There have been about four coming in a day since the wind started, most of them just unable to deal with the conditions out there.

"There have been some older common seals who are very sick and covered with wounds from being bashed against the pebbly beach, but most are juvenile grey seals.

"It is very unfortunate timing as the winds and rough seas came at the exact point in the year when grey seals are left to fend for themselves and make their own way into the water."

Ms Charles said many of the seals had been found floundering on beaches and rocks.

"In one case, a pup was found by a kindly fisherman who felt so sorry for it he put his fishing tent around it for protection while waiting for the rescue services to arrive.

"He even fed it some of the fish he had caught," she added.

West Hatch Wildlife Centre in Somerset and Mallydams Wood in East Sussex are also caring for seals.

The charity added that Stapeley Grange in Cheshire, which does not normally see many seals because of its location, had rescued two poorly juvenile seals over the holiday period.

Anyone who finds a distressed seal is asked to contact the RSPCA for advice.

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