A new marine rescue centre is experiencing a busy start to the grey seal pupping season.
In the space of two weeks, the centre at Blue Reef Aquarium – alongside animal charity Pawz For Thought – rescued eight stranded or abandoned grey seal pups.
The Tynemouth aquarium’s purpose-built rescue centre, which opened earlier this year, is currently providing emergency treatment for three pups, before they are transferred to the RSPCA rehabilitation centre in Norfolk.
Blue Reef’s Anna Etchells said: “We began getting callouts towards the end of November following the stormy weather.
“Newborn pups gets washed away from their mothers and then end up stranding on beaches where they are spotted by members of the public.”
The Marine Rescue Centre can accommodate eight seal pups at any one time, with additional holding areas available if needed.
During the first 24 hours the seals are rehydrated, given any required medication and weaned onto fish as appropriate.
The pups are then monitored for a further 24 hours, and fed as required. Once they have stabilised and are well enough to travel, they are transferred by the RSPCA to their Rescue Centre at East Winch, Norfolk.
The rehabilitation process continues there until the seals are fit and strong enough to be released back into the wild.