An Arctic ringed seal pup recovered from the Kerry coast ahead of Storm Brendan has delighted her carers by finding her appetite.
Named Cloudberry, after an Arctic flower, the little marine mammal was first spotted on 2 January but scarpered before rescuers could reach her.
However, she was found again on Sunday afternoon (12 January) some 150km away in Quilty and made her way into the care of Seal Rescue Ireland in Courtown, Co Wexford.
The wildlife rehab centre said that in the 10 days between she had lost condition and strength and became dehydrated, so she was given fluids and allowed to rest.
“We have to be exceptionally careful with this little lady, as ringed seals are known to become stressed very easily when handled, and can over heat and suddenly die (known as capture myopathy),” said the animal rescue charity.
But a strong heartbeat gave her carers hope, and they were cheered even further when she chowed down on some fish yesterday morning (Tuesday 14 January).
As Cloudberry’s condition improves, the next step for her carers is to determine her age which could be anywhere from four weeks to 10 months — older pups will have parasites that will require treatment for a full recovery.
“Being our first ever experience with a ringed seal, we are in contact with both the Alaska SeaLife Center and Zeehondencentrum Pieterburen [in the Netherlands] who have both had experience rehabilitating them, and they are helping to give us advice on her specific needs.”