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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tiny seal pup is nursed back to health after rescuers find it abandoned and shivering in aftermath of huge storm

By Mary Mcconnell

Orphaned: Barnacle the seal pup was found clinging to rocks after being injured during last week's storms

A cute grey seal found clinging to rocks after being orphaned during last week's gales and torrential rain is being nursed back to health.

The tiny all-white seal was found cowering and shivering after storms battered its breeding grounds, separating it from its mother on the Channel Island of Jersey.

Too young to fend for itself, the week old pup - nicknamed Barnacle - was taken in before being flown to an RSPCA animal centre, where it was yesterday being nursed back to full health.

Shivering: The seal was found clinging to rocks in the Channel Islands

Rescue: The seal was taken from Jersey to an animal rescue centre in Taunton, Somerset

The West Hatch Animal Centre in Taunton, Somerset, takes rescued animals from all around the UK and has specialist facilities for seals.

Vet David Cooper said: 'It's likely the animal was separated from its mother due to heavy storms. 'Barnie was bought in with a cuts and abrasions, including one to its chin, but is looking as though he will make a full recovery.

'Pups can be separated from their mothers during periods of heavy winds and waves, which is what we think happened to Barney. "He will have been too weak to fend for himself.'

On the road to recovery: The seal is being looked after at The West Hatch Animal Centre in Taunton, Somerset

Animal hospital: Staff at the rescue centre in Taunton have named the seal Barnacle

Shut-eye: Barnacle the seal pup has a rest at The West Hatch RSPCA centre in Somerset

The pup, which still has its fine pure white coat, will spend up to three months at the centre before being released off the north coast of Devon when fully fit.
Barnie is currently being fed a fish soup of Herring, which is fed intravenously, and will move onto sword fish within a matter of weeks. Grey seal pupping season runs from September to November. Pups do not start learning how to fish for themselves until they are at least four weeks old.



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