A DISTRESSED seal pup was rescued from a harbour after it was heard crying during the night.
The two-week-old pup was beached on the seacoal shore of Hartlepool Bay, off Marina Drive.
People living in flats next to the water’s edge heard it whimpering all night and a call was put in to charity volunteers.
The British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLF) team put the common seal in a plastic box with a towel after checking it was healthy and drove it to the Scarborough Sea Life Centre to investigate why it was stranded.
Centre workers will give the pup antibiotics and feed it up. The aim is to return it to the Hartlepool coast in a few weeks so it can rejoin its group at nearby Seal Sands.
Mark Swales, 45, from the Lingdale Road area of Billingham, was the first volunteer on the scene at 11am yesterday. He kept the animal safe for more than an hour before back-up arrived to take it away.
He said: “This was my first rescue. I’d only been on the course to do this two months ago so it was great to get the opportunity. We get text messages and the closest person goes to assist, and this time it was me.
“I checked it over and passed details back to the centre and it was picked up and taken away. It has possibly been abandoned, but there are all sorts of reasons why it ended up where it did. It’s highly likely it would have died if it had been left.”
The team had been called a week earlier to Seaton Carew’s beach to save a similar seal and say it can be a common occurrence at this time of year.
Jean Collins, 48, of nearby Ensign Court, was among the residents who spotted the animal in trouble.
She said: “I saw it at 8am, but a neighbour said it was there the night before and he’d had heard it crying. His son even tried to put it back in the water but it just came back to the shore.
“I saw it and it looked beautiful. It had big green eyes and the fur was really bright before it was covered in coal. There was a scar on the top of its head and it looked a bit thin but you could see it was still alert.”
The BDMLF deal with rescues of all kinds of marine life.
They advise to note the place, state of the tide and any injuries the animal has but without getting to close as it can cause distress.
The service can be contacted on (01825) 765546 during office hours or on 07787 433412 out of hours.