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


2006-11-11 14:23:24

Grey Seal Pup "Snappy"

After a couple of calls earlier on in the week about a very healthy rounded pup losing its furry white coat and a slimmer weaned pup an observation was decided upon today due to the weather conditions up here at the moment.

Myself and Davey took a ride over to Freswick with my daughter (Karina 15) and her friend (Lisa 15) to hopefully catch sight of the two pups and see how they are faring.

We pulled up at the end of the track in the area used for vehicles to turn and Davey got out and looked over the edge to see the fattest one of the two if it was still in the same place, he called me over as he climbed down the slight embankment saying it didn't look good. The pup was lying prone on it’s back with a visible open wound in its belly/side that was bleeding also very bulging eyes that were very dirty and weeping yukky stuff.

When I got a bit closer I could also see that a thinnish yellow discharge was running out of the nose, a bloody rear flipper and it could not turn over.

As I started to make phone calls for advice to Tony and Elaine, Davey walked the beach to see if the slimmer one was still there, but there was no sign of it, so we will have to assume for now that it was off hunting (this second slimmer one will be checked on again tomorrow by medic Clair Davidson).

After speaking to Tony Woodley and then Elaine Roft with a very patchy signal it was decided to lift this pup and get it to the vet for treatment to the wounds. After trying to get hold of the pup for about 10 minutes we eventually got it into the seal stretcher, that had fortuitously arrived a couple of days ago and was in the car, and huffing and puffing we managed to get it into the back of the truck. While on the way back to Thurso, medic Richard Bradleys wife rang us and we explained what was happening and could she get hold of the vet in Thurso to warn them of our arrival, which she did and rang us back to let us know we were expected.

We arrived at the vets and one of the younger ones came out to see the seal, we pointed out what we already could see and knew about and off he went to get some stuff. He returned a few minutes later and the seal was lifted out of the back of the truck so he could see the wounds properly which he cleaned, sprayed with an antibiotic spray and then gave the seal an injection of antibiotics too.

I got hold of medic Karen Munro to bring down the black container for the seal to travel in which she duly did and we loaded the seal up and set off home. Elaine had spoken to James Barnett BDMLR vet too for me and pictures were taken of the wounds for him to assess whether we release the seal tomorrow or it is to travel on for more treatment and rehab. During taking the photos I took the opportunity to give it a quick check and it has got a temp of 37.5c and roughly weighs in at 30 to 35kg.

James rang me to say it was a rehab candidate, so arrangements where made for rehab.The pup was settled down for the night and was regularly checked on and it seemed happy enough though a little grumpy if we got close.

At 9am we decided it was time to set off though we didn't know where to yet, so I emailed Jamie and said we were heading off with the pup towards Inverness as that was a couple of hours journey anyway and to ring us when he knew where we were going. So the journey began about 9.15am.

Jamie rang us after about half an hour or so, we had just turned off the causewaymire and were on the route south literally just at Latheron telling us arrangements where made for us to be met by Andrew Ireland (Buchan Area Coordinator) at Fochabers so we just carried on with a steady drive keeping the pup as cool as we could.

Paula Gent
BDMLR Caithness Coordinator