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Refuge from the storms

The winter storms have brought down trees, snapped power lines and forced many people from their homes, but they have also had a far less obvious effect on wildlife.

The Hessilhead wildlife centre in Ayrshire has been dealing with some of those consequences in the last few days.

Staff at the centre have been caring for eight seal pups that were washed ashore in Northumberland, Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway.

Some of the pups are already coping on their own but others are having to be fed by hand and still have their white coats, which they usually shed after about three weeks. The huge storms that washed the pups ashore were extreme events, although climate change is one of the threats the seal population faces. Other threats include pollution and shipping.

Exactly how these factors, and others, have caused the decline in Scotland's seal population is unclear, but it is certainly declining.

In the meantime, Hessilhead and other similar centres continue their invaluable, impressive work helping seals, birds and other wildlife.

Good news for the seal pups and good news for Scotland's wildlife.

Contextual targeting label: 
Hobbies and general interest

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