The first seals born this year have appeared on the Polish Baltic coast. Volunteers of the WWF Blue Patrol have already intervened with 12 baby seals. Including one special one – a ringed seal pup found its way to our beach! It is the smallest species among the Baltic seals and also the rarest in the Polish part of the coast! The last time such a seal pup was observed was in …2013!
The turn of March and April is exceptional for the Baltic Sea. It would be inaccurate to say that the sea starts to live, because life goes on there all the time. However, this is a point on the Baltic timeline that is hard to miss. It is when seal pups begin to appear on the beaches. For the WWF Blue Patrol this means a period of intensive work. Patrols have of course, for the safety of the ‘Blue’, been reduced, but they continue to intervene to the animals most in need, such as newborn seals. This year they have already found 12 pups separated from their mothers.
Why do we need to help baby seals?
The first 2-3 weeks a baby seal spends at its mother’s side. However, the infancy period does not always end as nature has planned. Sometimes, as a result of various events, such as large storms, accidental or deliberate disturbance by people or the appearance of a predator, young seals can become separated from their parents. If this happens too soon, then there is a huge risk that the pup will not cope if left to its fate. A puppy unprepared for independent life needs human help – luckily the WWF Blue Patrol is watching over it!
How do the Blue Patrollers help the seals?
The volunteers assess the state of health of each seal they find, and after consulting the animals’ guardians at the Marine Station of the Institute of Oceanography at the University of Gdańsk, they make a decision regarding the animal’s further fate.
The volunteers first assess from a safe distance whether the animal is dehydrated, has no visible wounds or scratches, is behaving well and, finally, whether people are disturbing the pup’s rest. If the seal is sick, injured or in need of medical attention, it is immediately transported to the Seal Hospital at the Marine Station, where basic examinations and a veterinary consultation are carried out. If a baby seal needs treatment, it stays in the care of the Hospital, where it can recover as quickly as possible and return to the sea thanks to medication and a special diet.
The year 2020 was a record year in terms of interventions to seal pups. WWF Blue Patrol helped 70 seal pups! It was a remarkable “gift” from mother nature to celebrate 10 years of its activities on the Polish coast! We expect that the coming year may be no less abundant!
Krystian Wyrzykowski rel. WWF