The middle of spring is a rather dangerous season for the spotted seal also known as the larga seal. At this time, the pups whose mothers died for one reason or another can be frequently found on the coast. In order to skillfully rescue these animals, the staff of the Sikhote-Alin Nature Biosphere Reserve turned to the Rehabilitation Center for Marine Mammals “Seal” for advice.
The reasons for the death of seals can be very different. Often, humans are at fault– the seals get caught in fishing nets. The abandoned little seals cannot survive without their mother. But people are unlikely to save them if they do not know how to do it correctly.
Pups should not be caught and fed at home with milk or raw fish – they do not eat this. But taking some of them out to sea is not the best choice either. Weak baby seals will overcool and die.
Local residents who have found young seals on the coast of the Sea of Japan usually ask for help from the staff of the Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve. But until recently, they did not have the necessary knowledge and experience to save the larga seals.
To comprehend the difficult science of helping young seals, an employee of the reserve, Nikolai Rybin, went to study at the Rehabilitation Center for Marine Mammals “Seal”, located 700 km away, in the south of the Primorsky Krai. This is the only place in the Far East where pinnipeds are properly fed and prepared to return to the wild. During the center’s operation, several dozen animals were rescued.
The specialists of the rehabilitation center explained how to tell if a baby larga seal is starving, suffering from stress or dehydration and in need of help. As noted by the press service of the reserve, for the uninformed, all the seals seemed to be "well-fed".
The hardest part was feeding the little seals. They require a nutritious "cocktail" based on ground fish. It is introduced through a feeding tube, and the process itself requires a lot of strength and skill.
An employee of the Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve learned all the subtleties of the hard work with young seals and successfully passed the exam. Now it will be much easier to provide assistance for small seals in the north of Primorsky Krai.