Wildlife Rescue shows seal pup fighting for her life

The injured seal was found on a beach and was believed to have been attacked by a dog, but she bit and scratched staff trying to help her.

Grey Seal (Lois)
Grey Seal Lois fought against her rescuers on Wildlife Rescue. (Channel 4)

The Wildlife Rescue team were left scratched and bleeding after trying to help an unwell seal pup.

Malnourished grey seal pup Lois was found injured and malnourished on a Suffolk beach and needed to be tube fed to help her build up fat reserves. But as vets and volunteers tried to handle her to examine and feed her, she fought against them, scratching their arms and trying to bite them.

One of the volunteers admitted seal rehab was once of the "toughest" things they do at South Essex wildlife hospital, where the Channel 4 documentary is filmed. And after seven weeks of being force fed, Lois's future was being called into question.

Pictured: (L-R) Grey Seal
Lois the grey seal was force fed for seven weeks. (Channel 4)

Lois was brought into the hospital after being found weak, injured and malnourished on a Suffolk beach. She had multiple injuries, believed to be dog bites, and was struggling to breathe.

Volunteer Chatlotte said: "Seal rehab is one of the most challenging things I've ever had to learn. She's just very confused and angry when we're manhandling her but when we need to assist her it's the only option."

Lois was shown scratching and attempting the bite vet Tom Linsel as he pinned her down. Blood dripped down the arms of the volunteers helping him. Volunteer James said: "We shouldn't be teeth to jowl with seals. We try to avoid the teeth but the claws always getting us."

Despite the help and encouragement from carers, Lois refused to eat, and so had to be force fed fish in an effort to show her what to do. James said: "With most seals we just leave some fish in their enclosures with them and they start feeding, but Lois she isn't get any of it. It's terribly frustrating when you've got a seal who is refusing to eat, refusing to put on weight and therefore cannot be released back into the wild." As volunteers were shown attempted to force feed Lois whole fish, viewers were reassured: "It doesn't hurt the seal, it's how they would be eating them in nature."

After seven weeks Lois was still refusing to eat or swim in the pond and would try to bite staff entering the seal enclosure. Volunteer Kate said: "She's making a nuisance of herself by the gate and trying to bite people, and she won't swim in the pond and be a seal." Charlotte added: "We can't force feed her into adulthood because that's no life for a seal."

But after seven weeks, the staff went to look for Lois, only to find her in the pond, and she then accepted and ate a fish. Kate said: "She has been very naughty so this is just awesome seeing her feed. There was a serious conversation about where this was going to go so she must have overheard us."

At the end of the episode Lois was healthy and was shown being released back into the wild in the Essex salt marshes, where she met another seal and swam off.

Viewers were moved by the work of the hospital and praised their efforts.

One wrote on social media platform X: "@Channel4 thank you for such a wonderful programme #wildliferescue its become our favourite programme what wonderful people sue, her husband and the team are who rescue and take care of these animals."

Another asked: "Please @Channel4 you much keep making #c4wildliferescue it’s so important for us all to be aware of the damage we are causing to our precious wildlife and how we can help. And to recognise and thank the true hero’s out there that help these defenceless beautiful animals." And another posted: "Really wonderful humans #C4WildlifeRescue"

Rosie the fawn on Wildlife Rescue.
Rosie the fawn won the hearts of viewers on Wildlife Rescue. (Channel 4)

Viewers hearts were won by newborn fawn Rosie who was brought into the hospital after being found abandoned at only a few days old. Volunteer Charlotte said: "Her mum unfortunately was chased off by some dogs and that's left her to become abandoned. It's really sad, unfortunately it happens a lot."

It was revealed that has become increasingly common for baby deer to be found abandoned because if they are licked by a dog, or touched by a human the smell scares off their mother, whose natural instinct is to flee for her own safety. Rosie was the first fawn of the season and was bottle fed by staff. She bonded with the volunteers and they had to be careful she did not become too close as it would prevent her being able to be released back into the wild.

 Lily the fawn
Sadly Lily the fawn did not make it. (Channel 4)

Rosie was joined on the show by newborn fawn Lily, who was collected during an emergency call taken by Sharon, and was found alone by the side of the road, with her umbilical chord still wet. Lily was a rarer Epping black deer and despite the efforts and care from the hospital, did not make it.

Viewers were touched by the story of the fawns and how they are affected by new builds encroaching on their habitat and dog walkers causing them to be abandoned.

One tweeted: "Aw poor little Rosie. Deers are such stunning animals and make the cutest babies #WildlifeRescue" And another commented: "I hate what humans are doing to wildlife and building homes where the wildlife lives. I also hate people who let their dogs off their leads when they are out in the countryside. That poor baby deer has been rejected by its mother because of a selfish human.#C4WildlifeRescue"

Wildlife Rescue news airs on Channel 4 at 7pm on Bank Holiday Monday 6 May.