Rise in rescued seals

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FIFE’S wildlife rescue centre has been inundated with orphaned harbour seal pups.

Dozens have been injured or are too young to survive in the Forth by themselves.

And the Scottish SPCA is now appealing to locals to donate towels and kitchen roll in order to help care for the growing brood of pups.

The centre is currently caring for 14 young harbour pups and one grey seal, already eclipsing last year’s total of 15 harbour seals in one year with 23 in the past eight months alone.

Busiest year

Colin Seddon, the centre manager, said: “This has been our busiest year caring for harbour seals.

“Most of the seal pups that come into our centre have been orphaned or injured and are too young to survive by themselves. We rehabilitate them at the centre until they are strong enough to be released.”

Colin added that while it was difficult to determine why there has been an increase in seals needing rescued from the Forth, part of the rise in numbers may be to do with the fact that less organisations in Scotland are taking in injured seals.

Thousands

Each year in the Forth thousands of seals are born, with 2000 born on the Isle of May in January alone.

The mothers leave the pups to fend for themselves at around three weeks old, meaning it’s often difficult for them to find food, keep out of open water and look after themselves.

Colin appealed for the public to donate kitchen roll and towels to help care for the young seals at the rescue centre, which gets around 3500 admissions a year, with everything from hedgehogs to swans passing through the doors and using up the much-needed funds.

He added: “We go through a lot of towels at our centre as we use them to handle the seal pups when we’re feeding them and also to keep them warm in their pens.

“We also use lots of paper towels to clean the pens as feeding the seals can be very messy work!”

Donations can be handed in to the centre at Middlebank Farm. Anyone who is concerned about a seal pup should call the SSPCA for advice on 03000 999 999.