Submitted by Steve on 15:24, 5th Oct, 2016 | 0

Every Autumn the shores of the Bailiwick see grey seal pups being born, and the GSPCA are issuing advice today to help prepare islanders and those walking our shores.

On the weekend we were called out to what was thought to be an injured seal pup, but instead of finding a seal our Ambulance Volunteer Warden Suzy Rose was sadly faced with a dead conger eel that had been washed up.

It was reported locally in the media that we had rescued and were caring for a seal pup at the GSPCA, although this is not true as the conger eel that we were called out to had passed away.

The earliest grey seal we have rescued in recent years was Jethou Bumblebee who was found in November back in 2012 who give birth during the winter months.

During the last few winters the GSPCA have rescued five Grey Seal Pups in total.  Bonnie who was rescued in January of this year, two in 2013/14 Eden and Trinity and the previous winter Jethou Bumblebee and Hanois.

All five grey seal pups were rescued in time, rehabilitated at the GSPCA in Guernsey and released back to the wild.

All five seal pups were released from Jethou and during Eden and Trinity's release we had a wonderful sighting of Jethou Bumblebee and Hanois who had been released a year prior.

Geoff George Animal Collection Officer and main carer for Seals at the GSPCA said "Grey Seal Pups are often born from October around the Bailiwick of Guernsey and we like to let the public know what to do if they see one."

"With bad weather seal pups can often get separated from their Mother during their first few days of life which is crucial to help with their development."

"If anyone spots a seal pup healthy or not we urge people not to approach them and to give us a call on 257261."

Steve Byrne GSPCA Manager said "On the weekend our Volunteer Ambulance Warden Suzy Rose was called out to a seal pup but when she got there she sadly found a deceased conger eel."

"We respond to call calls for animals in need and from helping hand puppets this year to plastic bags we do get calls which occasionally aren't what we are expecting like this call on the weekend."

"It is always hard to rescue and rehabilitate seals which are weak and in need of our help, but to have rescued five and got them all back to the wild in Guernsey where they are from has been a real joy for all of the team."

"A healthy grey seal pup should look like a fat sausage and you shouldn't be able to the a neck, but if in doubt please send a picture in or give us a call."

"In November 2012 we had a call from Jethou about 'Jethou Bumblebee' a seal pup who was extremely thin which we could quickly tell as they emailed pictures, so we quickly launched the rescue to Jethou thanks to the Bumblebee Boat Cruise team."

"Often healthy seal pups will have their Mother watching them from out at sea and it is people that has scared them off, so please do keep your distance and your dogs under control."

"Only recently have wildlife enthusiasts been highlighting the dangers of dogs on the shores to birds and over the next few months seal pups will also have a possible presence, so please do take care and keep them a safe distance."

If anyone see's a pup with or without a mum we really do appreciate a call so that we are aware of its location and condition, but here is some advice.

A healthy pup looks like a big, stuffed maggot without a neck. However, a thin pup looks sleek (but not bony) and has a visible neck, like a healthy dog.

PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH THE SEAL. They can give a nasty bite, which will become infected by bacteria that live in a seal’s mouths.

Note: Do not allow dogs or other animals to harass a seal.

If a Seal is scared back into the water, it could then be washed out to sea by strong currents and be lost. You should not put a seal pup back in the sea as it may get into difficulty.

If a Seal pup is sick, thin or injured then we would ask you to contact the GSPCA immediately on 01481 257261 day or night

When reporting an injured, sick or abandoned seal to the GSPCA, please make sure you are able to supply the following information:

  • Exact location; nearest town / village
  • Position on the beach, and state of the tide
  • How long you have observed the pup; any disturbance / risk to it; whether the mother has been seen
  • Any wounds / obvious signs of illness
  • Length/colour/condition.

Pictured above is Jethou Bumblebee a very thin seal pup

Caution:- Handling of any animal either domestic, wild, dead or alive may be potentially hazardous. Obvious dangers include bites, scratches and general hygiene issues. Common sense should be applied in all instances and, if unsure, seek additional advice or assistance. Personal hygiene should be taken into consideration after handling any animal, whether it’s domestic, wild, dead or alive.

To see some of the previous stories about seals please click here.

Some grey seal facts -

  • Population numbers since 1960s have doubled
  • A grey seal pup weighs 14kg at birth
  • A grey seal pup mothers milk contains 60% fat
  • Grey seals can dive to a depth of 70m
  • Another name for a grey seal is the horsehead seal
  • Grey seals are found in the waters surrounding Europe, Russia, North America, and Channel Islands
  • Grey seals can be found in estuaries, inter tidal zones, brackish water, polar and shallow seas
  • There are 18 known species of seal in the world

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