A “desperately underweight” seal found himself in two predicaments on dry land after travelling up the River Loughor.
Workers at a gym equipment warehouse near the estuary in Llanelli were stunned to find the male grey seal pup amongst the treadmills on Friday 11 December. He was then ushered out of the warehouse by the well-meaning staff to the nearby river.
The same seal then found himself in an even worse predicament a few days later as he was found on Sunday, 13 December in a ditch in Llangennech – where the recent train derailment occurred earlier this year. It was believed that the seal had entered one of the chambers – which was full of oily water – at the construction site in high tide.
RSPCA inspector Leigh Summers attended and collected the unwell seal which had been confined by the workers. The seal was taken to animal rescuer Ellie West for urgent care, seeking veterinary advice.
“He was so skinny, was covered in diesel, and was very poorly,” she said. “He is a pup but has been fully weaned – but he is desperately underweight for his age. He must have been struggling for some time.
“Thank goodness he is now in our care – after he managed to get himself into two tricky predicaments in a matter of days! After some rest, a clean up, and some tube feeds he started to get better – and I have to admit I have absolutely fallen in love with him – even after seeing so many seals this season.
“He definitely is a mischievous one – we don’t know how he managed to get into the warehouse and then managed to visit the Llangennech construction site! He was absolutely exhausted after his misadventures.”
The seal is now in the expert hands of staff at RSPCA West Hatch Wildlife Centre – where he will be cared for until he is fit and ready to be released back to where he belongs.
This year the centre is naming seal pups after herbs and spices – and this seal has been nicknamed Bergamot.
Ellie said she would like to thank those who got in touch and for keeping an eye on the poorly seal, but urges members of the public not to chase or move seals found in unusual places back into the water – as it is highly likely they are in need of help.
“Many well-meaning people think they are helping lone pups by moving them into the water – but nothing could be further from the truth,” she said. “They have usually headed to land for a reason, and can be in desperate need of veterinary care or support.”
If you see a healthy seal on a beach, it’s also important that people keep their distance and do not try to move it back into the sea – it’s very normal for seals to come out onto beaches to rest, and they will go back into the sea when they are ready. Ideally, lone seal pups looking fit and healthy should be monitored from a safe distance for 24 hours. If a seal pup is injured or in distress, the mother hasn’t returned after 24 hours, or is on a busy public beach, the RSPCA’s emergency line should be contacted on 0300 1234 999.
For more information about what to do if you’re concerned about a seal pup, please visit the RSPCA’s website.
If you have an animal welfare concern or find an animal in distress please call 0300 1234 999.
This winter, the RSPCA expects to rescue thousands of animals from neglect, cruelty and suffering. To help our rescue teams reach the thousands of animals who desperately need us, visit www.rspca.org.uk/xmas and Join the Christmas Rescue #JoinTheRescue
Donating just £25 could help keep our Animal Rescue Teams on the road.