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Sleepy the seal pup on the mend

Sleepy the seal pup on the mend

Published by KLFM
6:25am 19th February 2020.

A seal pup rescued from Heacham Beach on New Year's Eve, is said to be well on the mend.

Sleepy, as he was called, had a fishing net in his tummy, which had been stopping him eating, but he's now putting on weight and telling off his carers at SEA LIFE Hunstanton.

Sleepy fishing net
Fishing net from Sleepy's tummy

The centre, which wants to stop fishing nets and line getting into the ocean, now has a special recycling bin where it can be dropped off.

Hollie Stephenson, senior aquarist at SEA LIFE Hunstanton said:

"At three weeks old and weighing only 9kg he was severely malnourished and dehydrated. Sleepy only had one small superficial wound and no sign of infection, his lung sounds were clear so we called our specialist veterinary team to run a series of tests to check him internally, all the tests came back clear.

"As normal procedure, the animal care team rehydrated him and started introducing Sleepy slowly to fish. He struggled to keep his food down in the first couple of days so the animal care team made up a special fish soup mixture which is easier to digest and switched to tube feeding.

"After a week under observation and improvements in his temperature, the animal care team found fishing net inside Sleepy’s pen.

"He must have ingested it whilst learning to feed out in the wild and it had caused him to stop eating and lose all the weight he had gained from his mother. We suspect our tube feeding had dislodged the netting allowing it to pass into his stomach and pass through his gut.

"Sleepy has been feeling much better since getting rid of the fishing net and has gone from strength to strength. He started feeding himself two weeks later and has been piling the weight on.

"Currently he’s in our pup pool finishing his rehabilitation, he now weighs 25kg and has developed the typical grey seal attitude.

"He shouts at the animal care team when they open his door and growls when we clean his water. We are confident that he will thrive once he is ready for release."


SEA LIFE Hunstanton wants to reduce the amount of so-called ghost fishing gear in our waters and has installed a 30L bin outside their centre, where small fishing line and netting can be binned for recycling.