Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Orphaned seals on the increase here

A Co Down seal rescue centre has been inundated with orphaned animals this summer and nearly had to move some of the pups elsewhere.

The Northern Ireland Aquarium at Exploris in Portaferry said it has been its second busiest common seal season in its 20-year history.

At the moment, the seal rehabilitation centre is caring for no less than 10 orphaned common seals and is bracing itself for the forthcoming grey seal pupping season which starts in autumn and early winter.

Common seals pup in June and July, but grey seals start to pup from September through to December, making them vulnerable to the more tempestuous weather conditions in the latter part of the year, senior aquarist Tania Singleton said.

“The more recent ones have not been able to look after themselves. Once they reach four weeks they are pretty much kicked out — the milk bar shuts and they have to look after themselves,” she said.

“This year has been pretty busy — it’s been our second busiest common seal season over the last 20 years.”

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