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Seal pups suffer in winter gales

Environment News: Ireland

Jan 02, 2007
NEWBORN SEAL PUPS are getting into difficulties along the Irish coast because of stormy weather. Exploris, the Northern Ireland Aquarium based at Portaferry on Strangford Lough, said it was running at full capacity and was coping with a record number of seals - 19 at present. The period between September and December is pupping season for grey seals. At birth, they are covered in white fluffy fur that is easily waterlogged so the majority of pups stay ashore as their mother comes to feed them. The combination of stormy seas and viral or respiratory infections has meant that more and more seals require help. Northern Ireland has been affected by stormy weather over Christmas and the New Year period. Many of the rescue centres across the British Isles are full up and it is difficult to find a place for the animals. The Irish Seal Sanctuary at Greystones outside Dublin city reported that it was so overstretched that it had to release some seal pups at a little below the weight that they would prefer.

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