Norfolk

Mother abandons seal 'twin' pups R2-D2 and C-3PO

Twin seals
Image caption The pups have been named after Star Wars characters

Two seal pups, believed to be the first grey seal twins born in the UK, have been abandoned by their mother.

The pups, which will be DNA-tested to establish if they are twins, were born last month at Horsey Gap in Norfolk and abandoned on Monday.

On Tuesday they were taken to the RSPCA Norfolk Wildlife Hospital at East Winch, near King's Lynn.

Manager Alison Charles said the mother may have been "disturbed by the public" and abandoned the pups as a result.

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She said: "It's just really sad... we don't need animals here that have just been disturbed by the public when they can lead healthy lives out there."

The mother had "done a really good job" looking after the pups, which were in "good nick", she added.

Image caption They were born on 28 November and rescued after their mother stopped feeding them for 24 hours
Image caption It has not yet been confirmed if they are twins

They have been sexed and named after Star Wars characters, with the female called R2-D2 and the male C-3PO.

The centre, which specialises in caring for orphaned, sick and injured seals, will feed the pups every three hours via a stomach tube until they are able to take solid fish.

Ms Charles hopes they will be able to release the animals back into the wild but said it took "four or five months" to rehabilitate seals and there was no guarantee of success.

Last year, 60,000 people visited the coastline at Horsey Gap where 800 seal pups were born.

The Sea Mammal Research Unit, based at St Andrews in Scotland, said there had been no previous recorded instances of grey seal twins being born in the UK.

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