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Harbour Seal Pup Critical Care

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Thousands of Harbour Seal pups are orphaned every summer and are starving, dehydrated and frequently injured along our coastline. There are myriad reasons why there are so many orphans.


A mother could be in poor health when she gives birth; first year mothers can lack experience and dedication to the newborn; premature births are common and can cause some mothers to abandon their pup; mothers who give birth on log booms may have their young towed hundreds of miles away from them.


The staff at Island Wildlife has become awfully good at saving these fragile pups. Heat, oxygen, I.V. fluids, antibiotics, a few well chosen alternative remedies and around the clock monitoring gradually bring them back to life.

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There are a hundred ways an orphaned seal pup can die in the wild. There is only one way it can survive...rescue by a wildlife volunteer rescue boater. Pictured in the upper left, the pup is still alert enough to keep the birds at bay. However in the upper right, a stranded pup has little defence against an aggressive dog. An unfortunate pup in the lower left was too weak to save its eye from becoming a meal for the scavenging gulls. Pictured in the centre, this pup still has a fresh umbilical cord attached at its abdomen.  There is little chance it has not been orphaned, as it is suckling on the hull of an aluminum boat rather than its mother. The lower right is an x-ray of a pups rear flipper with broken bones. The cause was unknown but a dog bite or a log boom could be responsible.

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