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Cornish sanctuary inundated with seals washed up during storms

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 13, 2014

  • This seal puppy is called Erica aged six weeks old, at the Seal Hospital at the Gweek Seal Sanctuary in Cornwall. Erica is being forced fed by Animal Care Assistant Emma O'Neill.

  • One of the seals at the Seal Hospital at the Gweek Seal Sanctuary in Cornwall, which has recovered after he was battered in the stormy seas.

  • one of the seals at the Seal Hospital at the Gweek Seal Sanctuary in Cornwall, which has recovered after he was battered in the stormy seas. His cut is still visable on in neck.

  • This seal puppy is called Erica aged six weeks old

  • This is the Seal Hospital pool, at the Gweek Seal Sanctuary in Cornwall, where seals recover from injury.

  • Animal Care Assistants Jenny Lewis, inspects the injuried seals at the Seal Hospital pool, at the Gweek Seal Sanctuary in Cornwall.

  • the Seal Hospital at the Gweek Seal Sanctuary in Cornwall.

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A seal sanctuary has been swamped with nearly 50 animals washed ashore in the recent storms.

Staff at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary in Gweek have been rushed off their feet recovering seals from beaches, promenades and even back gardens.

They are currently housing 48 confused seals but are unable to release them back into the wild until the weather calms down.

Tamara Cooper, who works in the sanctuary's hospital, said the centre has spent £30,000 on feed for the stricken animals.

"We've had a lot of call-outs to rescue seals that have been swept onto land much further away from the water than usual," she said.

"Some of the seals we have been able to release or relocate immediately, depending on how rough the waters have been.

"Over the past few days we've seen seals washed up on to promenades and we've even seen one appear in someone's back garden."

The centre typical deals with 50 rescued seals during an entire season, which stretches from November to February.

But that number has nearly been reached since Christmas alone.

Tamara added: "At the moment we have 48 pups in our care.

"Lots of them are just extremely tired out from battling with the stormy seas.

"Others are malnourished and, or, dehydrated where they have been unable to access food.

"We have also seen quite a few come in with broken jaws, which we assume is because they have been knocked around by the waves.

"Our biggest problem at the moment is the back log we've got. We have seals that are ready to be released but we just can't put them back in the choppy waters."

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