A premature baby seal with umbilical cord still attached has been rescued from almost certain death by Natureland Seal Sanctuary.
The day-old creature was found at Benington marsh and has been named David, as it was born on Sir David Attenborough’s 90th birthday on May 8.
Staff at Natureland say it is the youngest harbour seal pup they have ever taken in – and are currently working hard to nurse it to health.
“This seal has come to us six weeks earlier than we would normally get them in,” said Natureland director Duncan Yeadon. “Normally they come in to us from the end of June onwards. We’ve had premature pups come to us in May before, but never one this young.”
Mr Yeadon said harbour seals’ white fur coating is shed in the womb before birth – this one’s furry appearance showing just how young it is.
“It’s how we can tell he’s premature,” he added.
It is believed the pup’s mother came up at high tide to give birth in the marshes, but was unable to get him back to the water as the tide receded and had to leave him behind.
He was discovered by two walkers, called Jood and David, who quickly reported the animal to Natureland.
“If he had not been discovered when he was, he would have almost certainly starved to death or died of dehydration, so it’s quite fortunate they found him when they did,” said Mr Yeadon. “He’s in a remarkable condition considering, quite lively and with no injuries – but he’s by no means out the woods yet.”
Staff are currently feeding the pup with fish and hydrating fluids – and taking care to keep his umbilical cord clean and dry to avoid infection. They are getting through four towels a day - and are making an urgent appeal for more.
l If you have any large towels to donate you can drop them off at Natureland, North Parade, Skegness.