Weary And Malnourished Seal Pup Rescued Miles From Home
BY : NIAMH SHACKLETON ON : 28 JAN 2020 14:26CEN
This adorable Arctic seal pup has been rescued miles from home in southern Iceland after it was found alone and showing signs of malnutrition and exhaustion.
The ringed seal was reportedly spotted behaving strangely at the port of Njarðvík in the south-western Icelandic town of the same name.
The weary pup was taken to the Reykjavik Park and Zoo in the country’s capital, where it was examined by vets who said it was severely malnourished and suffering from an eye infection.CEN
It was here that the pup was identified as a ringed seal (scientifically known as Pusa hispida), the smallest and most common seal species found in the Arctic.
Reykjavik Park and Zoo spokesperson Thorkell Heidarsson said:
The ringed seal is a polar species that follows the ice edge around the Arctic, including north of Iceland.
It’s therefore clear that this pup is far south of its natural habitat.
On the other hand, it’s well known that young ringed seals go wandering and are found along Iceland’s coast, but usually in the north.
The cute pup is reportedly less than a year old and has lost a lot of weight as it hasn’t been weaning from its mother.CEN
Heidarsson added that zoo staff are doing everything they can to fatten the mammal up to make it healthy again.ADVERTISING
The tiny pup definitely has some growing to do, as adult ringed seals can weigh up to 150lb and can grow up to 5ft in length.
Once the seal pup has fully recovered, it will be released back into the wild.
If the adorable seal is released back into the wild, it will have to be wary of polar bears and killer whales, as they often prey on ringed seals.CEN
According to the National Geographic, a bigger threat to their numbers than polar bears and killer whales is climate change, which is reducing the expanse of their icy world.
As a result of rising temperatures, the Arctic’s sea ice has thinned, and it has been found to have reduced by around 10% in the past 30 years.
The loss of ice doesn’t just affect seal habitats; it often causes pups to become prematurely separated from their mothers, which is likely to have happened to this pup.
Rapid ice loss and the inability to build dens for protection also contribute to high pup mortality.