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


2006-08-11 11:34:05

Common Seal Pup Rescue For Montrose Team

A common seal pup was observed today at 12.25 hrs by Medic Elaine Roft from a distance of approximately 120yrds, which was basking with 4 adult seals. The pup and the adults took to the water on the flow tide and there were no causes for concern when observed. At 15.30hrs, Elaine received a call from a concerned member of the public (who wishes to remain anonymous) saying that they had encountered a seal pup which was on the high tide line and appeared to be in distress. The caller agreed to stay at the scene, keeping his distance until a response team could be organised. Medics Elaine Roft and Willie Taylor accompanied by Volunteers John Roft and Mandy Taylor arrived at the locus at 16.00 hrs. By this time, the pup had now made its way back to the surfline and was cradled amongst rocks. On seeing our approach it made a beeline for the sea, but stopped on reaching the breaking waves. The team were asked to move back to observe its reactions. The pup immediately turned round and moved away heading out of the surf clearly not wanting to leave the retreat which it had found. Elaine (ill equipped as she had been working) grabbed a fleece jacket, approached the pup in the surf as it was heading back up the beach and straddled it. The fleece was then wrapped around it and it was carried gently up the beach away from the flow tide which was now in at its fullest. A basic health check found the pup to be a male (named Henry), which was bright, active and alert.

There were no discharges from the eyes, ears nose or genital areas and the eyes were clear and rounded. It did however have visible neck, pelvis and ribs. Respiration fluctuated drastically over a period of an hour (from first arriving on scene, until leaving the beach). This varied from 15bpm, 12bpm, 5bpm to 13bpm at which it remained. BDMLR Consulting vet Cameron McPherson was called, who advised getting the pup to rehab and eliminating administration of fluids (which Elaine did not have with her) to save time given that the pup was still active, bright and alert. As Laurence Brain (Grampian Wildlife Trust) could not accommodate our pup due to holidays, a pen was booked at SSPCA Facilities at Middlebank, Inverkeithing. It transpires that this was the same common pup monitored by new Medics Willie Taylor and Rab Quinn (named Suzi) earlier in the week, which saw the Medics keeping vigil until high tide when it took to the sea and joined an adult - presumably mum.

The pup measured approximately 2.5ft - 3ft in length and was not dependant on mum despite it being with a group of adults. Medic Paul Horne accompanied by Volunteer Mandy Taylor started transportation to rehab at 17.15hrs. On arrival at Middlebank at approximately 19.15 hrs, "Henry" was renamed "Morris" - themed name being cars and was given reference number 1704. He weighed a pitiful 10.08kg (drastic decline in weight from when it was first observed on Wednesday) and was left to settle for a while before being given rehydration fluids. Whilst some medics were a little saddened that this pup was now going to rehab and away from the adults it hauled out with, reassurance was gained from knowing that it will be given that extra "boost" in life at rehab. Sadly the pup was in an area, where, had it moved further North or South from its current location it may have succumbed to death due to many factors involved. Many thanks to The member of the public for reporting it to us, Tam and Susan (Angus Council Employees), Medics Elaine Roft, Willie Taylor, Paul Horne. Volunteers John Roft, Mandy Taylor. Fraserburgh Co-ordinator Andy Ireland (relay offer had it been going to GWT), SSPCA Middlebank. Thanks to BDMLR Consulting vet Cameron McPherson.

Elaine Roft
Montrose/Arbroath Area Co-ordinator