Recent stormy weather has led to an influx of seal pups at an RSPCA wildlife centre in Cheshire.
There are currently 10 seals at Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre, in Nantwich, who have been admitted after becoming stranded on beaches and separated from their mums due to high winds.
It is the largest number of seals the centre has had at any one time.
Members of staff at the centre have named the seals after characters from Game of Thrones, apart from one who has been named Biel.
A diet of fish soup is being fed to them at least three times a day to help them gain weight. It is hoped that all of the seals will be released back into the wild, however it can take many months – sometimes as many as five – before they are well enough to be released.
Lee Stewart, manager at Stapeley Grange, said: “When seal pups arrive they are unable to feed for themselves and have to be tube-fed. The 10 seal pups in our care were all initially tube-fed a ‘rehydrate’ solution and then later moved across to their liquidised fish soup.
“After some time in care we will then try them on whole fish which can be quite a time-consuming process. They are initially tube-fed until they work out what they need to do. Once they are taking fish it’s then plain sailing with regards their care, as soon after they will be taking fish by themselves.
“We always worry for young seal pups at this time of year when the weather is bad because they are so vulnerable and can become separated from their mothers, as has happened with most of our seals. The storms cause real problems for the seal colonies.”
The 10 seals currently at Stapeley Grange are:
Jamie, a orphaned grey seal pup who was found alone on a beach in Newquay, Powys;
Biel, a common seal pup who had an injury to his face and flippers when found on a beach in Southport;
Jon Snow, a grey seal pup who was found abandoned on a beach in Llandudno, North Wales;
Drogo, a grey seal pup who was found orphaned on a beach in Gwynedd, North Wales;
Bran, a grey seal pup who was found lethargic and weak on a beach in Gwynedd with an injury to his left eye and flipper;
Daenerys, a grey seal pup who was found separated from his mum on a beach in Dyfed, Powys;
Ramsey, a grey seal pup who was found underweight and separated from his mum on a beach in Gwynedd;
Hodor, a grey seal pup who was found collapsed on a beach in Gwynedd;
Ned and Cersei, two grey seal pups who lost their mum in a storm in Pembrokeshire.
The RSPCA advises that if members of the public spot a seal on a beach that they observe them from a distance and do not approach them. Seals are wild animals and have a nasty bite. It is also advised they keep dogs on leads on beaches that have seal colonies too.
If you see a pup whose mother hasn’t returned within 24 hours, is on a busy public beach, or if you think the seal may be sick or injured, please call the RSPCA’s 24-hour advice and cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.
There is more information on the RSPCA website about what to do if you see a seal or pup on the beach alone.
The RSPCA is a charity relies on public donations to exist. Anyone who would like to support the vital work of Stapeley Grange can text RSPCA2 to 70007. Texts cost £3 + standard network rate.