Rare seal pup with dark coat being cared for at rescue sanctuary

A rare seal pup with a dark coat is being cared for at a sanctuary.

The female seal pup was found with a suspected respiratory infection and weighing 18.5kg rather than 35kg.

She was admitted to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary in Gweek last week and is now recovering well.

A spokeswoman for the charity said the pup, which has been named Egg, has melanism.

This results in increased development of the dark-coloured pigment melanin in the skin or hair.

The condition affects one in 400 seal pups, with female pups usually naturally lighter in colour than male seals.

A spokeswoman for the Cornish Seal Sanctuary said Egg was being treated at the site’s hospital and “slowly gaining weight”.

“Despite going through three lockdowns and various restrictions, the pup rescue and rehabilitation work at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary has carried on as normal, battling against devastating financial losses,” she said.

“The sanctuary have continued their vital conservation work in order to support seal pups from around the Cornish coastline.”

This season, the charity has seen 36 casualties go through its seal rehabilitation programme – with the youngest just two days old.

Sixteen of these pups have been successfully released back into the wild after receiving care and treatment from the animal care team.

During this period, seals at the centre have been fed more than six tonnes of fish such as mackerel and herring, costing £8,000.

It costs the sanctuary around £2,000 to return each pup to full health and release them back to the sea.

People can donate to the charity at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/PutPupsFirst