It’s likely that your beloved doggo has a brother from an ocean mother. And it’s a sea puppy, the most adorable marine animal that is closely related to canines. In fact, seals and dogs come from the same caniformia suborder, which literally means "dog-like." And that alone explains why we love seals so much.
Unfortunately, the current ecological crisis and plastic pollution are putting marine animals in danger. The team of Seal Rescue Ireland, a non-profit based in Courtown, Co. Wexford, is playing a crucial role in rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing sea puppies back to their ocean home. Every day, they share the most wholesome pics of rescued seals to their 26.5K Instagram followers. Let’s get ready for a cuteness overload with the mermaid puppies you didn’t know you needed.
"A #TBT of Sundew a grey seal from this past season thoroughly enjoying his nice warm bath with Hibiscus scrub to clean his wounds. Sundew was successfully released on the 24th of November 2019."
Bored Panda has contacted Melanie Croce, the executive director at Seal Rescue Ireland, to find out more about their charity and sea puppos in need of rescue.Melanie said that there are a variety of reasons seals need to be rescued. “Usually it's a case of a young seal pup which has been orphaned too early by its mum (often because of humans or dogs approaching or disturbing them), which means it is not receiving fat-rich milk to build vital blubber.”
Another reason seal pups need to be rescued is when they become injured or exhausted from storms. Melanie explained that “due to climate change, there has been a rise in frequency and intensity of storm surges, which can drown inexperienced pups or even throw them into rocks along Ireland's rugged coastlines.”
"loudberry is not far off release look at that blob"
The third big threat for seals is marine waste. “All plastic that has ever been produced is still in existence today and by the year 2050 there may be more plastic in the ocean than fish, which is disastrous for opportunistic feeders like seals, which can easily mistake it for prey and can cause choking or internal blockages.” This is a certainly a huge motivation to reduce plastic waste at home.
And finally, Melanie said that often seals get sick with parasites and because of pollution, the animals are no longer able to heal themselves. “Toxins, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, agricultural runoff, or sewage in their ecosystem weaken seals' immune systems and they can die from secondary infections.”
"Lupin has had enough of having his pic taken."
"Moss say “Would you like to boop my snoot”"
Melanie assured us that seals are truly closely related to dogs, and their behaviors certainly are evident of this. “Like dogs, seals are social, intelligent, and curious animals that all have unique personalities.” They form friendships, have favorite hangout spots, and even love to play with toys. “We jokingly call them our mermaid dogs because that's essentially what they are,” she said.
Check out our previous post showing side-by-side just how much these two have in common. No wonder they both belong to the caniformia animal suborder that includes carnivorans like dogs, bears, wolves, foxes, raccoons, badgers, seals, and mustelids.
"An adorable #flashbackfriday of El Taco a common seal pup successfully rehabbed in 2018. El Taco is showing off his “eye rings” which means he is nice and hydrated"
"Meet Cloudberry a Female Ringed Seal found in Co Clare. These seals are Native to the Arctic not Ireland."
However, unlike for dogs, it’s very dangerous for wild seals not to have a healthy fear of humans and that’s why the staff members at SRI take a hands-off approach as much as possible. “We try to avoid interacting with them, talking around or to them, or handling them unless absolutely necessary (as tempting as it is to treat them like puppies).”
But despite their efforts to maintain the animals’ wildness, “our staff and interns always have individual favorites, especially when we've personally taken part in their rescue.” Melanie said it’s partly because “their mix of resilience and vulnerability is very relatable.”
"A sweet picture of Toby a common seal from 2013. Being a premature pup he was one of the smallest seals we've ever had in our care at 6.65kg and needed around the clock feeding. Toby was a fighter and was successfully rehabbed and released a few months later!"
"I’m sure you all remember miss Frangipani one of our wee commons from last year. While she was small in size she was mighty in spirit and soared through rehab and was released this past November. We definitely miss seeing her cute face!"
For those who're wondering if you can actually adopt a rescued or an orphan seal, I’ve got some good news. SRI offers adoption packages that include a personalized certificate of adoption you can put on your wall, the full rescue story of your seal, a link and password to view regular "PUPdates" so you can see how your buddy is doing, and an invitation to your seal’s release. I mean, who wouldn't like to become a proud parent to a sea puppo?
"A #tbt of our first common seal from 2018 Noodles! Wonder why he's so fuzzy? Common seals who are born prematurely will sometimes still have their baby coat called lanugo which they're supposed to shed in the womb before birth."
"Sesame - look into my eyes I am so adorable"
"Baked Potato is ready to go home."
"Poplar is such a beautiful pup. Look at his lovely colour of coat"
"Our little Quince has graduated to kennels"
"Kelp and his friend Herring. He has a long way to go in fish school"
"Churro says don’t forget to come along to kilfarrasy beach waterford tomorrow at 2pm to see him and Baked Potato head back to the ocean"
"All 54kg of Hellebore headed back home today Into the wild. Good luck out there boy"
"Tic Tac is looking amazing"
"Bluebell has just popped up to say hello"
"Shamrock and Alfalfa just before they were released today"
"The time has come for our beautiful Salsa to head home. Join us this Saturday at 3pm at Morriscastle beach to wish her luck"
"Let me just leave you this beautiful photo of Cloudberry"
Note: this post originally had 90 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.