A seal pup rescued in Jersey last month, and brought to Guernsey for treatment, is on the road to recovery but the GSPCA says 'Shakespeare' "still has a long way to go".
He was found washed up at St. Aubin's Bay last month after becoming separated from his mother and was rescued by the British Divers Marine Life Rescue team.
He weighed little over 16kg, and was just days old, having been discovered with his umbilical cord still attached.
Shakespeare was moved to Guernsey, where he has been under the care of the GSPCA in its specialist unit for seal pups since then.
The GSPCA Manager, Steve Byrne said Shakespeare has started to make a slow and steady recovery.
“When Shakespeare arrived the little pup was white but has quickly lost the white fur and turning the to the grey coat they have within a few weeks of age.
"Shakespeare is doing well and is now even starting to eat fish with little assistance which is a really good sign, but has a long way to go.”
In order to be released, he will have to reach a target weight of around 40kg.
Pictured: Shakespeare the seal pup when he was first in the care of the GSPCA.
Grey seals, also known as the Horsehead seal, are found in the waters surrounding Europe, Russia, North America, and Channel Islands, with the UK holding about 40% of the global population.
They are the largest species of seal in the UK and their population has been growing, with numbers doubling since the 1960s.
Grey seal pups are born with fluffy white fur, which drops off as they age. The pups tend to weigh around 14kg at birth and they will often require tube feeding every two to three hours day and night upon rescue. As such, they require constant attention. When they move on to solid food, they will eat up to 30 herring or mackerel per day.
Pictured: The GSPCA has returned 23 seals to the wild over the last 10 years.
Over the last 10 years, the GSPCA has returned 23 seals to the wild. Shakespeare was the first seal pup of the 2022/23 season to be rescued but the charity is expecting more to come into its care.
At this time of year, the tides are higher and the weather is much windier and so more seal pups are expected to wash up over the coming months. However, not all seal pups found on beaches are necessarily in distress as the mother may be nearby and waiting to feed the pup.
If islanders do find a struggling seal pup, Mr Byrne's key piece of advice is not to approach them, as it may scare the mother away. Instead, they should call for help from the GSPCA.
Pictured: Shakespeare just after his rescue, and (inset) now.
"For those out with dogs please don't let them approach seal pups as this can scare their mothers off and if they were to bite your dog and cause a nasty injury," he added.
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