Posted by: The ocean update | July 22, 2015

Will seal pups survive ? (Netherlands)

seal-pup

Photo Lenie ‘t Hart

July 22nd, 2015 (Lenie ‘t Hart, via Kustnieuws). The end of the nursing period for seals is nigh, the pups have been weaned and they now have to take care of themselves. In the Dollard, in the provence of Groningen in The Netherlands, near the estuary, you will find a lot of young seals and hardly any adult animals. Does this mean that all these young seals can make it on their own now in the world ?

Alas, the answer to that is no. The nursing period for seals is four weeks, if the pup was not able to drink enough milk its starting weight will be too low and the pup will surely get into trouble. Luckily a lot of young seals are found and rescued because without help they do not survive. What is important to know is that rescuers can take the seals to known rescue centres where the young seal will have a fair chance of survival. That’s is why it is important that we increase the number of Seal Sanctuary’s and to this end we shall soon have a couple of extra SRRC’s here in the Netherlands.

It is a shame that more people when they see a seal on the beach or a dike say : “No, a seal should be in the water !” and chase the weakened and helpless animal back into the water. It may be well-intentioned but it can prevent rescuers from doing their job.

And not every person thinks the same way about the seals, some don’t share the view that you should save an animal in need, the argument used by those individuals being : “There are more than enough seals already!” Thinking this way is not the problem, but if those that think this way actively prevent other people from rescuing the sick and needy that is a problem. We have to approach the issue with mutual respect, but active prevention of the rescue of seal pups is an act of cruelty and should have no part in the debate and solution to the problem.

That is why, dear animal lovers, it is imperative we keep on fighting for the individual animals. Every animal in need has the right to be helped. Rescuers, do not be influenced by people who see the “beauty” of dying. If they want to believe that, let them. Even if there are thousands of seals, the one in need deserves a chance to live. That seal does not understand that there are ‘enough seals already’. Who decides what enough means anyway ?

A young seal lying on the beach (or a dike) that does not move when you come nearer needs assistance. If it does not get any help, it will surely perish. If you find a seal in this condition, please act to ensure that the seal gets a second chance. In this way we hope to find many fewer seals lying dead on the beach like the one shown in the accompanying photograph.

Aiding the helpless is called being civilized, it is our social responsibility. Humans cause many of the problems that seals face. For one we catch their food and use it for feeding fish on fish farms. These are not fish we eat ourselves. We pollute their waters and cause disruption to their environment.

Look at the picture of the seal with the red discolouring, it is a victim of pollution. Seals with a colour like that are mostly inhabitants of the Dollard, a lot of them have eye problems. Aluminium sulfate has been found in their fur.

No, we cannot and we must not close our eyes to reality. Too often animals pay the price for our way of living. It is our duty to help them. Nobody can or should prohibit that.

Photo Lenie 't Hart

Photo Lenie ‘t Hart

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