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


2006-11-15 15:07:16

Pup rescue Rattray Beach, Nr. St Fergus Scotland

In light of the recent bad weather, the Buchan group planned to carry out patrols today. We met at Scotstown beach and set off in the direction on Peterhead. After completing this section of beach we had a short break ad then headed west towards Fraserburgh. Volunteer Scott Doutre spotted a seal pup, and a very good find it was too! The pup was very high up the beach and it looked like he had been there for some time now. As this pup was right in the middle of both beach access points at St Fergus and Rattray we decided it would be best to use the quad to relay kit to the scene.

We were using radio communications as mobile signals on the beach can be affected due to the dunes. Andy contacted Elaine Helyer by radio and got her to make contact with Elaine Roft and ask her to try and see if Middlebank or Lawrence had free pens for our pup. Elaine came back soon after and advised that Lawrence would be happy to take our pup.

We loaded the kit up at Rattray, which included our seal response kit and kennel and headed back to re-locate Scott and the seal. There was no mother or any other seals present in the sea and the pup was not faring too well. Volunteer Elaine Helyer was given some instruction on seal handling and then was handed a towel and told to do the needful. As Elaine work on a farm she was used to handling and restraining animals. The pup was young and still had some of its white coat on the rear flippers. It had some breathing problems and was coughing every 10 minutes. Respiration was noisy and we suspected respiratory disease, lugworm or worst-case pneumonia. Scott and I took the temperature, which was high at 37.6 and there was dry crusty discharge around the eyes. The pup was underweight and appeared to be thin. He wasn’t the feistiest of pups but did put up a fight when being handled.

Whilst Elaine was holding the pup, Scott and I cleaned off the eyes and rinsed them with water and gave him a check over for any trauma. Elaine then released the pup to give him a break and we sprayed him with water to try bringing the temperature down.

We placed our pup in to the kennel and secured him to the quad for the long journey back to the Rattray car park. Scott’s agreed that he would take the seal to New Deer and he set off by foot back to his car at Scotstown car park. We headed back on a slow journey to Rattray car park where we were to rendezvous with Scott. We continued to monitor the pups condition which appeared to be worsening. As soon as Scott arrived we placed (squeezed) the kennel in the back of his Corsa and he set off to Grampian Wildlife Trust.

Overall this was a very successful rescue with excellent communications, utilisation of all our equipment and above all teamwork from both those on and off the scene.

We would like to thank everyone that was involved with making this rescue possible, including vigilant members of the public, Buchan Co-ordinator Andy Ireland, Buchan Volunteers Scott Doutre and Elaine Helyer, Montrose Co-ordinator Elaine Roft, Lawrence and GWT and Grampian Police.

Update from Scott Doutre
Pup arrived at GWT at 1520. Scott placed the seal in to the free pen as Lawrence was out on a call. All of the details were left with GWT for Lawrence on his return.

Andy Ireland
Buchan Regional Co-ordinator

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