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Posted: 2020-02-08 14:55:04

Fishermen who rescued a whimpering seal pup 'crying like a baby' for its mother have been told that they actually killed the animal with their kindness.

A heartbreaking video showed the newborn infant alone on the frozen sea off Russia's largest island Sakhalin, on its Pacific coast.

Ice anglers say they searched for the seal's mother but she was nowhere to be seen.

They stroked and fed the pup, monitoring it on the ice for two days before taking it away on a sledge to give it to an animal shelter, hoping to save the plaintiff creature, they said.

A group of fishermen stumbled upon and tried to help a seal pup (pictured) while they were working on Russia's Sakhalin island, which is in the Pacific Ocean north of Japan

A group of fishermen stumbled upon and tried to help a seal pup (pictured) while they were working on Russia's Sakhalin island, which is in the Pacific Ocean north of Japan

'It was a maximum of one day old when we first saw it, and I even had to cut off its umbilical cord,' said fisherman Alexander Sbitnev.

'We were protecting it for two days, hoping for the mother to come back.

'We even named it Valera.

'When we realised that the mother was nowhere near, and that the seal needed help, we called animal right shelter volunteers.'

But their action has led to fury from seal experts who claim by going close and touching the seal, they added to its woes.

The men comforted the whimpering animal by stroking under its chin
They put the pup in a sledge to move it towards a road where they met a local animal rescue service

The men comforted the whimpering animal (left) and used a sledge (right) to move it towards a road where they met a local animal rescue service

Had they kept a distance the mother may have returned, it is claimed.

'When the volunteers came they found the seal inside a plastic bath that fishermen used for their catch,' said ecologist Alexander Ivanov from Green Sakhalin foundation.

'We have said multiple times that it is strictly prohibited to touch wild animals.

'They cannot be fed or given water.

'They must not be touched.'

The experts said the pup had lost 50 per cent of its body mass and had 'very few chances' of survival after the intervention of the 'kindly' fishermen

The experts said the pup had lost 50 per cent of its body mass and had 'very few chances' of survival after the intervention of the 'kindly' fishermen

The pup appeared relaxed as it peeked out from its sledge after being found by the fishermen

The pup appeared relaxed as it peeked out from its sledge after being found by the fishermen

The seal should only have been watched from a 'safe distance'.

The experts said the pup had lost 50 per cent of its body mass and had 'very few chances' of survival after the intervention of the 'kindly' fishermen.

Specialists tried to hydrate the pup but could not save it, he said.

But the fishermen have hit back at what they say was contradictory advice from experts while being stung both at the criticism they faced and the young seal's death.

'They thought they had done everything according to ecologists' instructions,' reported The Siberian Times.

They had asked for advice when trying to save the lonely pup.

The fishermen said they waited for a few hours to see if the mother seal returned (pictured the pup)
One man in a warm red snow suit dragged the pup behind him in a sledge

The fishermen said they waited for a few hours to see if the mother seal returned but when she didn't they decided to move the pup (pictured left and in transport right)

They were originally attracted by the yelping because they thought it sounded like a human baby, and so went close, only then realising it was a lost seal pup without its mother

They were originally attracted by the yelping because they thought it sounded like a human baby, and so went close, only then realising it was a lost seal pup without its mother

'They told us to be gentle and careful with it, and so we were,' said one.

'We feel like we took so much care of it.

'And now it's us who are blamed for the pup's death.

'It hurts deeply to hear it.'

They were originally attracted by the yelping because they thought it sounded like a human baby, and so went close, only then realising it was a lost seal pup without its mother.

'We thought it was a baby and started to look for it yet soon we noticed a newborn seal all alone,' said one.

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