Seals Kindergarten 2015: Lunchtime

Feeding regime for young patients of the Center for Research and Conservation of Marine Mammals is very important. As well as the diet, because we, people, can eat a wide range of dishes but little seal puls eat only fish. The fish, of course, must be of excellent quality and contain correct proportions of proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. We’ll tell and shows you the feeding in Repino seals kindergarten.

First step. Newly arrived seals are fed every two hours. The food and drink includes salt solution, which helps to remove and prevent dehydration. As pups spend their first days in the Centre with almost no water, and they do not know how to drink, possible dehydration can be a serious threat to their health. Besides rehydrating micro and macro mixture, food for the pups consists of herring meat, fish oils and special vitamins for marine mammals. The mixture is given to the animals via a probe.

Seals Kindergarten 2015: Lunchtime

The second stage. Animals who get stronger start to get fish. However, for gray seal and ringed seals pups, who lost their mothers early, grasping and swallowing fish correctly is a real science. Therefore, they have to be fed by force - from the hands of zoologists, and sometimes herring needs to be pushed into their throats. Seals do not chew fish, they swallow it as a whole. Therefore, it is very convenient to hide vitamins inside the fish carcasses as they won’t not spit them out.

Seals Kindergarten 2015: Lunchtime

But the pups still spend much time in the water, so the problem of dehydration is still urgent for them. Therefore, after the portions of food they get a probe with rehydrating with salt solution. At this stage animals are fed four times a day. Eating whole fish they gain weight much faster and body fat allows them to spend more and more time in cold water.

Seals Kindergarten 2015: Lunchtime

The third stage. Once the pups are taught to eat fish as a whole, feeding and water treatment start to be inseparable: the portions of herring are thrown into the water. First, the skills of eating whole fish are processed in the boxings of the quarantine unit. Ringed seals are taught by water currents in boxings - the fish moves in a circle under pressure to train seals hunting skills.

Seals Kindergarten 2015: Lunchtime

And in the final stage of rehabilitation, when the animals move to the outdoor pool area of adaptation, they the fish is thrown in a small pool from behind the screen, and all contacts with the zoologists are minimized. Now the puppies are gaining weight very fast, which is not surprising: gray seals eat 5-7 kg of fish a day, and ringed seals eat 2-3 kg. And when the desired performance is be achieved, the animals will be released into their native waters.

Seals Kindergarten 2015: Lunchtime

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