Somerset

RSPCA West Hatch names storm-hit seal pups after Bond villains

Baby seal at RSPCA West Hatch
Image caption The centre is now caring for about 30 seals which washed up along several Welsh beaches

An animal sanctuary has named 30 seal pups hit by storms off the Welsh coast on the theme of James Bond villains.

The RSPCA Centre at West Hatch took in 15 seals at the end of November and more have arrived in the last few days.

Centre worker Jo Schmit said: "The mark now is around 30 but we expecting to take more in from the Welsh coast."

The influx follows the closure of a seal rehab centre in Milford Haven last year. All the orphans rescued this year are grey seals.

The seals are given names based on a theme - this year the centre turned to Bond as as the inspiration.

'Lazy Goldfinger'

Various animal rescue charities are informed of the whereabouts of the seals by members of the public who spot them washed up on the shores.

British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) then monitors the creatures for 24 to 48 hours to check they are orphans and are not just there while the adult seals hunt for food.

Once they are identified as orphans, charities including the RSPCA, BDMLR and North Devon Animal Ambulance transport them in kennels to West Hatch.

"We have Stamper, and Vargas, Mallory and Blofeld who is one of our longer-staying residents," Ms Schmit said.

"He's been living with us for a while and he has been living up to his reputation."

She added: "Every seal is a complete individual, some will learn very very soon, even from white coat stage they might start shredding fish up.

"With Goldfinger, he's been here quite a while... we have to try to weigh up whether he's being lazy or whether he doesn't get it."

On arrival, the seals are checked for wounds and given a course of antibiotics if needed.

They are also monitored to ensure they gain weight and are warm enough.

Image caption The wildlife centre is taking in more seal pups after a Welsh seal sanctuary closed last year

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