AN ANIMAL rescue centre in North Yorkshire has been involved in saving more than 600 seals off the coast of the UK over the last 10 years.

To celebrate International Day of the Seal earlier this week, SEA LIFE has been shedding light on the top work carried out by its seal rescue teams in Scarborough and Hunstanton.

In total, the two sites have rescued and rehabilitated 636 over the past 10 years, with staff estimating 500 hours on average has been spent caring for each individual seal.

A spokesperson for SEA LIFE said: "Seals can require rescuing for several reasons, whether that be pups getting separated from their mum, injury, or an outbreak of disease.

"Once rescued, the seals need feeding every few hours, with new pups needing to be taught how to catch and eat fish for themselves, so they can safely be returned to the wild. Staff will also ensure all vitals remain steady, on top of cleaning, food preparation and administering any medicine or treatment when necessary.

"As such, the estimated cost for rescuing seals, including working hours, medication, veterinary care, food and giving the seal a safe space for rehab works out at around £5,000 - £8,000 per sea creature."

Home to Yorkshire’s only Seal Hospital, SEA LIFE Scarborough’s Seal Sanctuary opened in 2008, with SEA LIFE Hunstanton’s dedicated Seal Rescue Centre and Hospital opening back in 1989, helping to rescue and rehabilitate over 750 seals so far.

An example of the work carried out by the team in Scarborough is the rescue of Lady, back in April 2019. Lady was discovered on a beach in Scarborough, significantly too small for her age and very skinny. After blood testing, it was clear Lady was fighting an infection, as well as several wounds that the team suspected were from a dog attack.

Despite her poor health, Lady became stronger and stronger thanks to the aid of the Animal Care Team, eventually being released in June 2019. In December 2022, Lady was spotted in the Farne Islands, fit and healthy having integrated back into the wild successfully.

Nigel Croasdale, general manager at SEA LIFE Hunstanton, said: “We are delighted to be putting the spotlight on our Animal Care Team and the amazing work at our Seal Hospital this International Day of the Seal. Our staff work so hard to ensure seal populations can thrive and we are immensely proud of the work they do.

“Without these rescue and rehabilitation programmes, local seal populations would almost certainly decrease, so it is vital that we continue to look after the seals in need that turn up on our coastlines.

"Once released back into the wild, we tag all our seals so we can keep track of their integration back into the sea.”