Ray of hope for lost young seals

Separated from its mother, this young elephant seal was found injured and undernourished on a beach in the US state of California.

It is not alone. The Marine Mammal Centre in the United States has rescued more than a hundred weak young elephant seals in similar straits. Heavy storm activity and rough surf are likely to have caused the mother-pup separations.

Here, the seal is getting an X-ray as volunteers and staff at the California-based centre work to nurse it and the other seals back to health so they can be released back into the ocean, reported the Marin Independent Journal.

The path to health involves getting a lot of calories into the animals so they can gain weight, said staff veterinarian Cara Field. That means fish "milkshakes" made of herring, salmon oil and water, which are given several times a day via large plastic syringes.

The pups are also put through "fish school", where they learn how to find food on their own.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 22, 2017, with the headline 'Ray of hope for lost young seals'. Print Edition | Subscribe