A seal with a severe eye injury is the fiftieth rescued by the RSPCA in the South West and West Wales region this season.
RSPCA Cymru was alerted after the lethargic seal was spotted struggling to move on Aberystwyth beach on Saturday (8 December).
The seal was stranded on a busy area of the beach, and was safely moved by experienced seal handlers before being collected by the RSPCA.
Fortunately, the seal is responding well to treatment and is currently being cared for at RSPCA West Hatch Wildlife Centre in Taunton.
The seal’s eye is not missing as first thought – but the eyeball has sunken very far back into the eye socket. Her body condition is thin, and she has a severe mouth infection.
She has been nicknamed Platypus – after a drive at the centre to name all incoming seals after non-native species of mammals.
Ellie West, RSPCA animal collection officer, said: “This poor, sweet-natured seal was in a bad way, with a nasty, damaged eye. Fortunately, she is now in our care and we hope will be safely returned to the wild in the future.
“It is unusual to deal with wildlife where we are able to remove an eye and then release them to the wild – but this is possible; and we do have evidence that seals can do well even when this is the case.
“Our team in Taunton will work hard to rehabilitate Platypus and hopefully secure another happy ending for the RSPCA and wild animals in need.”
Platypus’ rescue is the latest in another “very busy seal season” for the RSPCA in South West and West Wales.
ACO West added: “Platypus marks the fiftieth seal to be rescued by us in the South West and West of Wales this season.
“Last season, Ophelia and Brian storms meant we had to rescue more than 100 – and though the number is likely to be a little lower this time around; it has still been another very busy seal season and a huge test for our officers in this part of the UK.
“RSPCA Cymru is here to help, and we always remind anyone who sees a pup whose mother hasn’t returned within 24 hours, is on a public beach, or seems sick or injured, to contact our 24-hour emergency line on 0300 1234 999. An unhealthy seal pup looks thin – but not bony – with a visible neck, like a dog.
“It’s important the public never approach seals and keep any dogs well away and on a lead, as wild animals can have a nasty bite.”
Should you wish to help RSPCA Cymru complete rescues such as these, you can donate online.