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'Mams' know best: Orphaned seal pups taking comfort from old wetsuits

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Melanie Croce and week-old orphan seal Andromeda with ‘wetsuit mam’.
Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Melanie Croce and week-old orphan seal Andromeda with ‘wetsuit mam’. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

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Stars in their eyes: Stellar the common seal pup. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Stars in their eyes: Stellar the common seal pup. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

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Melanie Croce and week-old orphan seal Andromeda with ‘wetsuit mam’. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Dozens of seal pups who were rescued after being swept away from their mothers during storms are being comforted by "mammies" made out of wetsuits.

Seal Rescue Ireland in Co Wexford has seen a surge in orphaned seals with many just days or weeks old.

The injured or orphaned pups are comforted by the "wetsuit mams" which are made from old wetsuits to look and feel like adult female seals.

Each pup needs months of care after being separated from their natural mother and would not survive alone in the wild.

The "wetsuit mams" are placed beside the pups in the centre's intensive care unit.

Melanie Croce, executive director of Seal Rescue Ireland in Courtown, said that orphaned seals can become distressed when brought into the centre.

"When they become separated from their mother very young they have virtually no chance of survival," she said. "That's when we have to step in, bring them back to a healthy weight, and get them big and strong enough to be released into the wild."

Irish Independent