Seal pup rescued by RSPCA after found in Terrington St Clement garden
A seal pup found four miles inland in the garden of a resident from Terrington St Clement is now being looked after by the RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre.
The pup, thought to be at least three weeks old as it has moulted its white coat, was spotted by the homeowner who had to do a double take after going out to their garden on Wednesday morning.
The resident called the RSPCA and animal collection officer (ACO) Naemi Kilbey was sent to collect the pup.
She said: "When the call first came through I was wondering if there had been a misunderstanding as to how far inland this pup had been found, but it turned out this little pup really was miles from the sea.
“He was found in the garden in an area surrounded by agricultural farmland and there was definitely no sign of the sea or a beach.
“We think that possibly he may have travelled up a drainage system and that’s how he ended up where he was, but the water system only literally had two inches of water in it, so this poor pup must have just kept trying to travel further and further down in the hope of finding water or food.
“He was an incredibly feisty little fella and it took all my strength to catch and rescue him, but it would have been his spirit and fight for life, that would have kept him alive during his ordeal.
“I’m just so grateful to the homeowner who found him and called us, if the pup hadn’t been found he would have likely have died of starvation due to not being able to find any food.
“The pup has now been taken to our RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre, where he has been checked over.
"I’m so glad that this was a happy ending and that the pup was found. He really was quite a character.”
RSPCA East Winch centre manager Alison Charles said: “While we will never know for sure how this seal pup ended up so far from home, we suspect that oncehe was weaned andleft his mum he somehow took a wrong turning and ended up going down the drainage system rather than towards the sea. He must have then just kept travelling further and further in search of food.
“He really is very lucky he was found as he would not have been able to survive for long without a food source.
“We hope he should be fine now, he will spend a few days with us where we can continue to monitor him and feed him up, then the plan will be to release him back to Wash and this time hope he doesn’t take a wrong turn.
“However as Naemi has stated even though these seal pups can look very sweet, they are still exceptionally feisty and the member of the public did the right thing in calling us so we could catch the pup.
“Seals are incredibly strong and powerful wild animals and can have a very powerful bite which can cause horrible wounds."
Alison has taken this opportunity to remind people to stay away from seals, no matter where they find them.
She said: “The grey seal pupping season has been taking place along the Norfolk coasts and we have been incredibly concerned by recent reports that people have been getting too close to these pups in order to take pictures or even selfies with them.
“We know that it is an incredible sight to see, but people must respect that these are wild animals, and not interfere or get close to them.
“We have already had some reports of seals being bitten by dogs, because people have also been too close to them with their pets.
“We also want to remind people if they see a pup that looks healthy on the beach - please leave it alone.
"If a person interferes with the pup then their human scent could actually stop mum returning to her pup. And we have also heard reports of people chasing pups back into the sea.
“People may think they are helping, but these are wild animals, and need to be left well alone.
“It’s not unusual for seal pups to be left alone for short periods of time so if you spot a youngster who looks fit and healthy, it is best to monitor him for 24 hours to ensure a parent returns.
"If the mother doesn’t return within 24 hours or you think the pup is sick or injured, or the seal pup is on a busy public beach, please call the RSPCA’s emergency cruelty line on 0300 1234 999."
For more information about what to do if you see a seal or pup on the beach alone, please visit the website: www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/wildlife/orphanedanimals/sealpups
The charity said if you spot an adult seal which looks sick or injured, or is stranded a long way from water, keep a safe distance and contact the RSPCA.
Also keep other animals, such as pet dogs, away from the animal, and never return the seal to the water yourself.