Behind the scenes at East Winch Wildlife Hospital

East Winch RSPCA

East Winch RSPCA Wildlife Hospital

Special Report by Katie Moyle (age 9)

This summer I was really lucky to be allowed behind the scenes at the RSPCA animal centre at East Winch to see some of the seals. I had met one of the supervisors, Jo Mead, at the Kings Lynn park run.

The centre started in 1988 when the RSPCA along with Greenpeace, responded to the Seal distemper virus which struck common seals in the North Sea. An emergency seal assessment centre was set up in Docking, Norfolk.

After this emergency, the RSPCA continued to treat sick and injured seals and started to take in other British wildlife.In 1992 the centre moved to their permanent site at East Winch which became known as the RSPCA Norfolk Wildlife Hospital. The facilities and workload increased dramatically following the move.

east winch seal baby

Baby Orphan Seal

The centre is renowed for its care of orphaned, sick or injured seals. Centre staff developed a great deal of expertise during the seal distemper virus epidemics of 1988 and 2002. Vets are part of the team of trained and dedicated personnel. Staff have detailed knowledge and wide experince of wildlife care, rehabillitation.

When I visited with my Mum and Dad we had to put on a white suit and welly boots -mine were absolutely massive on me and I could hardly walk! First we saw the tanks with some baby Grey Seals in them.Then we saw the tanks that had slighty larger seals in them,followed by the outdoor release tank. Finally we saw the intensive care unit with the very sick seals and a slightly mad fox in the different rooms.

Jo Mead helping a seal

Jo Mead helping a seal

After the visit, I met Jo Mead again and interviewed her about her work with the seals.

When did you start working with seals?

I started working at the centre just over 10 years ago.

What do you enjoy about your job?

The best part about my job is when we release a seal when we have had to spend so much time getting them better

If a member of the public found a poorly seal?

First of all you should not go near it, because they can bite. Sometimes they can look poorly when they are not. Then they should call the RSPCA on 0300 123 4999 and tell them and we will send an RSPCA inspector to have a look.

What happens when you rescue a seal?

We bring it to the centre and then we get the vet to check it over. Then we give it some anbtibiotics and lots of food and fluids until its feeding better and then it is allowed to go swimming. It puts on lots of weight and then we can release it.

How long before you can release a seal again?

To get a seal better from really poorly until it can go back to sea, it can take about three months. Sometimes if they are really poorly it can take longer.

Two cute!

Two cute!

Katie’s website All About Seals can be found at


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