Tolgus the seal pup

A grey seal pup who rehabilitated by the RSPCA in Nantwich after being orphaned during Storm Eleanor in 2018 has been sighted again as an adult – nearly four years later.

Tolgus, named after a Cornish tin mine, was found on Constantine Bay during severe weather that swept across the country.

The severely exhausted pup, along with five other baby seals, had become separated from his mum when he was picked up by British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) on January 11 2018.

Tolgus and the rest of the group made a 300-mile journey to the RSPCA’s Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre on London Road, Nantwich.

The pups were cared for at the centre for several months and then transferred to the charity’s East Winch Wildlife Hospital in Norfolk.

They completed their rehabilitation in deeper pools before being released back on the north coast of Wales at Colwyn Bay on July 5 2018.

Tolgus tag - seal pup
Tolgus tag

This week, 47 months after he was rescued in Cornwall, Tolgus was spotted on a beach in Llandudno by a member of a local seal volunteer group thanks to the identification tag on his flipper.

Lee Stewart, manager at Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre, said: “So much time and effort goes into rehabilitating seal pups. It takes many months and is very expensive.

“Releasing them back into the wild is a great feeling, but receiving news that our seal pups like Tolgus are doing well in the wild so many years later is fantastic.

“Knowing that we are releasing our animals back into the wild ‘fit for purpose’ means everything to the team here.

“Every seal pup that leaves an RSPCA centre has a Dalton Tag put on them, so those monitoring in the field can feed back sightings like this.”

Caring for seal pups is hard work, particularly when they first arrive at Stapeley Grange.

They are given a ‘rehydrate’ solution and then moved on to a fish soup within 24 hours which to start with, is fed five times a day.

Depending on their size and condition, the pups are then switched to a diet of whole fish as soon as possible.

This initially involves force feeding them until they get the hang of it themselves.

As soon as they weigh over 40kg (approx 6st 4lb) they go back to Stapeley, before being returned to the wild.

If you are concerned about a seal, the RSPCA advises that you observe from a distance.

Keep other animals – such as dogs – away, and never return the seal to the water yourself.

Sick seal pups haul up onto the beach to rest, but so do healthy pups who will stay on the sand from birth until they wean.

If you have observed the seal for at least 24 hours and are concerned about it, contact the RSPCA for advice on 0300 1234 999.

For more advice about what to do if you see a seal pup on its own visit the RSPCA’s website here

Seal pup - seals at Stapeley Grange RSPCA
Seals at Stapeley Grange RSPCA

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