A grey seal pup is fighting for its life at Nova Scotia's Hope for Wildlife center. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police found the pup laying on a road in Pictou County last week with serious injuries after being struck by a driver.
Now Hope for Wildlife's staff and volunteers are working nonstop to rehabilitate the seal pup, who is underweight and has an injured pelvis: "Teams of two feed him a special seal formula five times a day around the clock and clean him and his unit regularly," Hope for Wildlife's Nicole Payne tells SheKnows. So far, she says the seal, whom they've taken to calling Valentine, is adjusting to his new environment, eating and moving around fairly normally.
Grey seals like Valentine are abundant off the shores of Canada's Nova Scotia, and their population is actually on the rise. There were only 1,000 of these seals making up the Nova Scotia herd in 1960, while in 2014 it was estimated that their numbers had swelled to around 14,000. If Valentine survives, he'll join the rest of the herd, potentially packing on nearly 700 pounds as he spends the next 40 years chasing everything from cod to octopus to lobster.
But Valentine has a long recovery ahead of him and could be at Hope for Wildlife for the next four to five months as he overcomes his injuries. "Three of the most important criteria Valentine needs to reach are swimming well, eating fish on his own and being of a healthy weight," explains Payne.
"Right now, he is kept in a small indoor unit while he puts on some weight and starts thickening his fat layer. Once he reaches a good enough body condition, he gets moved to a large unit and is given access to a pool for small intervals of time while he gets weaned off formula and onto fish to finding and eating fish on his own."
If Valentine can reach all these goals, Hope for Wildlife will reintroduce him to the wild.
Cars hit thousands of animals like Valentine each year on roads throughout the country. Payne notes the vast majority of animals they rehabilitate have been harmed by human causes. "The best thing people can do is pay attention to the road and be even more alert to animals on the road at night," she says.
Check out these images of the group working to rehabilitate Valentine, whom they must rehydrate with electrolytes every couple hours:
Want to get involved? Donate to Hope for Wildlife via their website.
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