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


2006-01-01 13:57:01

Hogmanay surprise for North-East Medics

Feeling a bit lethargic due to the Festive excesses I was convinced that my wife was having a laugh when I returned from the shower to be told that a seal pup needed rescuing right away. I came to my senses when a phone number was pressed under my nose and I was handed the phone!

The call was from Essex Co-ordinator Faye Archell and originated from Mark Stevens who was apparently in the supermarket!! Geography knows no bounds when it comes to rescuing marine mammals!!

Cutting a long story short, a grey seal pup was reported by villager Alec Forbes, on the beach in Pennan, Banffshire (backdrop to Bill Forsyth's 1983 film "Local Hero" starring Burt Lancaster & Dennis Lawson if anybody remembers it!)

A couple of quick calls and messages to those in the immediate area which, understandably at this time of year, yielded nothing but answering machines so I mixed up some Lectade and jumped in the motor (which having had it only a few weeks had not yet been "christened" by any seals. It soon would be!)

On arrival at Pennan I was met by fellow Medic Tim Davis and following a quick assesment it was determined that we had a significantly dehydrated, lethargic pup with very scummy eyes. She was given 200ml of Lectade and given basic first aid to the eyes and assorted cuts and scratches. What was initially suspected to be an injury or mange on the seals hind quarters actually turned out to be red or pink dye. This might indicate the animal was born on the Isle of May in the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh since Sea Mammal Research Unit at St Andrews University routinely spray dye on all the pups born there. However, somewhat concerning was the occasional twitching and wretching exhibited by our pinniped friend. So despite its reasonable body condition, it was agreed to take the seal to vet Lawrence Brain at the Grampian Wildlife Rehabilitation Trust in New Deer for a quick check up and a good sleep. I'll report back on Hogmanay's condition when I get news.

Thanks to Alec Forbes, Tim Davis, Lawrence Brain of Grampian Wildlife Rehabilitation Trust, Jane and Phil Davies, Kenneth McLennan, Faye Archell, Cameron McPherson and the local "torch holders" for their assistance in this rescue.

I'd like wish everybody involved with British Divers Marine Life Rescue a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year and to congratulate every single one of you on the excellent work you have done over the past year.

Nick Duthie
Aberdeenshire Strandings Co-ordinator
British Divers Marine Life Rescue