Seal Rescue Ireland

Rehab & Release

Our dedicated team of volunteers work around the clock to nurse seal pups back to health in our rescue hospital. Supporting their care and rehabilitation over weeks, or even months, with the ultimate aim of returning healthy independent pups back to their home in the wild.

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Rehab & Release

Each seal has a unique story of Rescue

We tell that story while giving them a second chance at life. SRI operates a 24-Hour Seal Rescue Hotline. We receive reports of sick, injured or orphaned seals every day from caring members of the public, from all over Ireland!

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Seal Rescue Dispatch

Swift Seal Rescue Assessment Process

Once a seal is reported, our team will contact one of our trained Rescue Network Volunteers. We have over 600 trained volunteers throughout the country! We will dispatch one of our Volunteers from the local area, who will complete an on-location assessment of the seal’s condition. They will send photographs so that our Animal Care Team can help to assess the seal, and if needed will monitor the seal for some time. If the seal is deemed to be in urgent need of care, or the mother has not been seen in the area for an extended period of time, our volunteers will transport the pup to our seal hospital facility in Courtown, Co. Wexford so medical care can begin as the first step to return them healthy back to the wild.

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We will only deem a seal’s care to be urgent, if we strongly believe that they may not survive, or will deteriorate quickly without intervention.

Watch our video to see what happens behind the scenes at our rescue!

Seal Care

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Feeding

Fish School

It is against the law to feed live animals to each other in Ireland, so using sustainably sourced fish tied to strings, we imitate moving prey. This stimulates the pup’s natural instincts to chase fish and introduces them to more natural hunting conditions. In some cases, hand feeding and the fish school can be skipped altogether, particularly with older seals that have already been hunting in the wild, as they will self feed quickly once feeling better and their appetite returns.

Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation Pools

The pools are the final stage of the rehabilitation process. Once the pups have reached a certain weight, are sufficiently feeding on their own, and are free of illness, disease and injuries they graduate from the kennels into the pools. Here, they are able to exercise, develop muscle mass, and learn to swim and dive. They also develop important social skills and competitive behaviour, as they compete for their share of food with the other pups. Since we cannot feed the seals live fish, this social dynamic provides a crucial opportunity to mimic wild conditions and develop natural behaviours needed for survival in the wild.

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In order to prepare the pups for life back in the wild, human contact is kept to a minimum at this stage.

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We need the seals to develop a healthy fear of humans for their own safety. We continue to weigh the pups weekly, until they reach the ideal size to be released. During this stage, we tag one of their rear flippers with an ID tag with a unique identification number for our records. This allows us to gather ongoing information after release, as we are able to identify them if ever spotted again!

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We have 4 pools at the centre:

  • The Nursery Pool is small and shallow, for pups moving outside for the first time to ease them into a bigger environment.
  • The Rock and Physio Pools are larger and deeper, for more advanced pups.
  • The Pre-Release Pool is our largest pool and the last stage of rehabilitation. It is enclosed in tall fencing to minimise human interaction for the final few weeks before release.
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To aid Seal Rescue Ireland include your name, contact number, location pin, and detailed pup description with photos and videos for assessment. Your contribution is crucial for prompt assistance.

Fill in the form below or give us a call 087 1955393

Report Form

Become a Rescue Network Volunteer today and make a difference in seal conservation efforts!

Become a volunteer and learn more about how you can help

Find out more

Watch rehabilitation and release videos on our youTube channel for inspiring stories of Seal Rescues and Recoveries!

Become a volunteer and learn more about how you can help

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