The RSPCA says one of its rescue centres is turning into a "seal orphanage" after tiny pups have been separated from their mums.
They are also "concerned" over some recently reported behaviour, in which beachgoers across the UK have been chasing baby seals into the sea, away from their mothers.
The stranded pups have been taken into the RSPCA's care after having been found alone and malnourished. One particular seal, named by rescuers as Cannelloni, is thought to have been chased into the sea at a Suffolk beach earlier this month.
Speaking to Radio Norwich about the problem, RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre manager, Alison Charles explained seal pups can swim from birth, which is leading to many of them becoming separated from their mums.
But in other cases, it's simply because beachgoers are chasing the tiny babies off UK beaches, and they are getting lost.
"We are like a seal orphanage at the moment," she said.
"We are becoming increasingly concerned by reports that some members of the public are chasing pups back into the water when they see them resting on the beach.
"This is really concerning because the reason the pup is resting on the beach is likely because they are exhausted due to being so young and still building up their strength."
Alison explained chasing seals back into the water when they are trying to rest is particularly dangerous, and the centre have heard of more than half a dozen instances already this year.
"We are currently caring for one seal, who we have named Cannellini, who was rescued from Corton, Suffolk on Sunday," she continued.
"It was understood that the day before, he had been chased back in the sea at Lowestoft, Suffolk."
The recovery and rehabilitation for the pups away from their mums can be as long as five months, with the baby seals given a rehydration solution before moving on to a liquidised fish soup and finally, transitioning on to solids.
They can then be moved into a pool to mix with other seals and eventually, when they are at a healthy weight, they can be released into the wild.
Please, if you see a baby seal on a beach, do not chase it into the water. The RSPCA advise members of the public to instead monitor from a safe distance over 24 hours to see if the pup's mum returns. If not, you can call a rescue team on 0300 1234 999. You can also find more information here.
If you'd like to help or donate to the East Winch Centre, they have an Amazon wish list here.
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