It is traditionally a time of indulgence and hopes are high that a seal pup will pile on the pounds this Christmas.
Mermaid, a common seal pup, was rescued in July from Fraisthorpe Beach, Bridlington, but she was so tiny staff at the Scarborough Sea Life Sanctuary had to nurse her round the clock to keep her alive. Now they are hoping she will put on enough weight over the festive season to be able to return to the wild.
As other pups have come and gone, staff say Mermaid’s growth has been agonisingly slow. She had numerous sores and abscesses around her mouth and the early prognosis was not optimistic.
Antibiotics eventually her infections and the animal care team have inched her steadily back to health. “We generally expect a rescued pup to be fit and well enough to resume life in the wild in three months,” said displays supervisor Lyndsey Crawford.
“Mermaid has already been with us nearly twice that long. She was so weak at the outset that her recovery took much longer than usual, and was dogged with set backs. All she needs now is to bulk up. So in Mermaid’s case we’ll be positively encouraging overindulgence this Christmas, and looking forward to her denting the scales in the New Year,” she said.
They hope to release Mermaid at the end of January, early February.