Injured animals are left homeless after country's only seal sanctuary destroyed
Published 17/02/2014 | 02:30
They have been bruised, battered and broken by the recent storms, and now critically injured baby seals have been left without a home.
The country's only seal sanctuary in Dingle, Co Kerry, last week became a casualty of Storm Darwin when it was totally destroyed by gale force winds.
Ally McMillan from the sanctuary said that this blow couldn't have come at a worse time for them at the centre, as the recent bad weather has left a large number of the defenceless mammals with serious injuries.
"There has definitely been an influx of more seals, and I would put that down to the storms," she said.
"We have seals coming in who are essentially being thrown off rocks, so they have experienced severe trauma, with broken bones and bruises," she said.
Many of the seals at sanctuary required surgery and there are currently four of the mammals in intensive care.
Unfortunately, many were beyond rescue.
"It's just been one thing after another for us this season. Winters are always tough.
"You usually get an average of 30 seals, and this season it has been over 45," the Australian woman said.
She has been running the centre with her partner Ciaran on a volunteer basis over the last number of years, and explained that the operation relies almost solely on money raised during the summer months.
They are currently operating the centre by themselves, due to financial constraints, and they were devastated when the strong winds destroyed the centre.
"We managed to patch up what we have temporarily. Our pools were broken and with the power outages the pumps weren't working.
"There are four seals in a critical state, so we have them inside where it is warm.
"We are just working with what we have got here for the minute," she said.
A campaign has been launched to raise the funds needed to repair the centre and Ally said that they have been "overwhelmed" by the support that they have received over the last number of days.