British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (photo: Steve Marsh)
British Divers Marine Rescue


2007-04-13 14:46:08

Seal Rescue, Rattray, Aberdeenshire

On Friday evening the Buchan team were preparing for a small team meeting which was being held at the Strathbeg House, St Fergus.

At 1830, Sue White (BDMLR Head Office) contacted Andy Ireland (BDMLR Buchan Coordinator) to advise him that a seal had been reported to the strandings hotline. The seal in question was the one that had been reported two days previous but when medics had gone to investigate, they couldn’t find it. The seal had been in the same place for three days now and the reporting member of public was concerned for its welfare.

The call was also passed on to Jason Carter (BDMLR on Call) as head office was about to close for the weekend.

Andy Ireland continued to prepare for the group meeting but the agenda was about to change ever so slightly… Further phone calls were made to the member of public, Lawrence Brain and Angi Long (BDMLR Buchan Medic). The member of public was given at ETA and also warned that we were going to have a group of Medics turn out and that we would be running this stranding as an exercise for the team.

Lawrence was contacted to ensure that he had space to accommodate the seal in a situation where it was to be uplifted.

Angi held the group water tank and she was advised to bring it with her to the meeting as we would be covering some seal handling.

On arrival at Strathbeg House, Natalie Simmons (BDMLR Inverness Coordinator) was in attendance as was Angi. Both were sceptical about the planned seal training session and convinced I had setup a manikin down at the beach. When the others arrived, we headed out of the hotel and told them that we had a call out to a seal. The moral to this story is "always carry your grab bag" and "you never know when you’ll get that all important call".

On arrival at the parking area we were met by the reporting member of the public. In attendance was Andy Ireland (BDMLR Buchan Coordinator), Natalie Simmons (BDMLR Inverness Coordinator), Angi Long, Stacey Esson, Elaine Helyer, and Linsey McKeown (BDMLR Buchan Medics), plus our junior helpers were present to keep us right!

The members of public led us to the scene of where the seal was and pointed it out in the rocks. We started off the session with some questions and answers as to what to do before a rescue and after arrival on scene. A plan was then devised as to how we were going to catch and assess the seals condition which required the seal to be blocked from the sea, placed in the tank, taken to the beach for assessment.

A full assessment was carried out with input from all of the medics on scene. The seal was very underweight, 45inches in length; breathing was fine, as was its temperature. It had a bad case of diarrhoea and was covered in weird scars/cuts which we pondered over the idea of them being seal pox – it was later confirmed that they were just lots of normal cuts and abrasions to the body.

Our seal was given the name Nemo, placed in our water tank and transported to Grampian Wildlife Trust in New Deer by Andy Ireland and Natalie Simmons whilst the others headed back to the pub to wait for us getting back.

On arrival back at the pub we had our group meeting, and as always it turned out to be an interesting evening…

On Saturday Andy Ireland went to Grampian Wildlife Trust and our pup was doing well and on the road to recovery that to Lawrence.

Linsey McKeown spoke to Lawrence mid week and our seal was coming on fine and was about to be stepped through the self feeding process.

Thanks to all involved; Sue White (BDMLR Head Office), Andy Ireland (BDMLR Buchan Coordinator), Jason Carter (BDMLR on Call), Lawrence Brain (Grampian Wildlife Trust, New Deer), Linsey McKeown, Angi Long, Stacey Esson and Elaine Helyer (BDMLR Buchan Medics), Natalie Simmons (BDMLR Inverness Coordinator), Members of the public and our Junior Helpers (you know who you are!)

Andy Ireland
BDMLR Buchan Coordinator