Almost all the seals that end up at the SRRC are found by people who spend time along the coast for work or recreation. Fortunately, (almost) everyone knows that the SRRC can be contacted day and night if a seal is found in an unusual place, is wounded or is displaying unusual behaviour. Just call (0595) 526 526.
SRRC workers will try to determine the exact location and age of the seal (young or adult), and the nature of the problem, by asking specific questions. The informant is asked to stay with the animal (if possible) and to keep inquisitive onlookers and especially dogs at a distance. Unfortunately, sick or weakened seals are often chased back to sea through lack of experience. This makes it difficult to get the animal its much needed help. A healthy seal will never let people near, let alone be caught.
With the details from the informant, the SRRC immediately contacts the nearest seal-first-aider. Via the seal-first-aid posts it is possible to get a trained first-aider on the spot within half an hour, everywhere along the coast and on the Wadden Sea Islands, to determine whether the seal actually needs help.
If, after consulting the voluntary seal-first-aider and a SRRC vet, it seems that the animal needs help, it is transported to Pieterburen.
Every seal that is brought in to the SRRC is immediately placed in quarantine. There, the seal is examined extensively and its treatment is arranged. After a couple of weeks, when it is clear the seal does not pose any threat to the other seals, or that other seals do not pose a threat to it, the seal is usually admitted to one of the small pools.
The groups are kept small, so that every individual animal can be carefully monitored. The animals are weighed regularly. In the small pools the animals can easily be caught in order to be fed or to give them their medicines. There are infrared lamps available for seals whose fat reserves have not yet recovered. When the seal starts feeding itself and has gained sufficient weight (at least 20 kg), it is placed in one of the larger pools. Here it will eat plenty of fish to rebuilt its fat reserves, before going back to sea. When the seal weighs about 40 kg, it can be released back into the wild. Seals stay at the SRRC for three months on average before they are released.