THE Scottish SPCA is reporting a rise in the number of sick and injured grey seal pups coming into its care this year.
Scotland’s animal welfare charity has rescued 34 seals this November, an increase of 50 per cent compared with the same month last year.
A total of 23 juvenile grey seals are currently being cared for at the Scottish SPCA’s wildlife rescue centre in Fife, all youngsters that have found themselves in difficulty this winter.
Named after astronomical features, current patients include Galaxy and Star, and the latest addition is Atlantis, a four-week old seal pup found weak and starving on a beach in St Andrews recently.
Centre manager Colin Seddon said: “It’s hard to pinpoint one specific reason why there’s been such an increase in grey seals coming into our care this year.
“Several of the pups we’ve rescued have been washed off their birthing grounds by stormy weather and have arrived with various injuries as a result of being bashed against rocks.
“Numerous others have been found in distress on our shores, often underweight, dehydrated and weak.
“We’ve had a handful in who have simply been away from their mother for too long, possibly because they’ve been moved or disturbed by well meaning members of the public, resulting in the mother abandoning them.
“Whatever the reason we’re glad to be able to help the seals.
“They are a very important feature of Scottish sealife.
“We hope to be able to return them back to the wild when they are fully recovered and ready to fend for themselves.”
Colin added: “We’re urging anyone who spots a sick or injured seal pup on the shore to contact our animal helpline on 03000 999 999 before approaching or touching the animal.
“We will provide the appropriate advice or assistance as required.”