First and foremost – we are a Sanctuary dedicated to treating and returning seals to their natural habitat, however since opening, Natureland has dealt with, and returned to the wild whenever possible, many unusual animal visitors including dolphins and whales, a “lost” walrus and pelican, plus numerous oiled seabirds and injured birds of prey.
Every year, particularly during the breeding season, seal pups are washed up on the beaches around Skegness, abandoned or separated from their mothers by the treacherous tides. The lucky ones are brought to Natureland’s Seal Hospital where they are cared for by dedicated staff members.
The real problem is persuading the pup to eat, the pup suckles differently from other animals (such as cats and dogs) and they cannot be taught to suck from a bottle. With a little help for a week or two they can swallow a few whole fish (known as sprats) which are about 3 inches long. At first their mouths must be opened but they soon get the idea and queue up for their two hourly feeds!
To help keep them healthy we give them vitamins and other medicines – just slipping each pill inside a small fish. If all goes well the pups are moved into the Rearing Pool where they are taught to feed on fish in the water and gain the body weight they need to survive in the wild. Some months after joining us when the pup is fit, fat and healthy, it is returned home to the sea.