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

News

2006-11-19 15:13:42

Northern Scotland busy again

Rich asked Hannah and I to take a look at the seal on Reiss Beach this morning. We arrived just after high tide, about 10:30 am. Found the seal close to Ackergill tower's beach, well within a lot of beached seaweed. Don't think that any dog walkers are going to make it this far, so it may be safe from that kind of influence.

It was about 4 feet long, and seemed quite well rounded to me, but I've not done much of these. It almost looked dead at first, but after my shadow passed over it, it opened its eyes, saw Hannah and myself, and started panting as if it was getting stressed. We took some photos and left it to itself.

Sarah Henderson

Sunday got off to an early start 6am; Davey and I got an Email (thank you Karen) regarding a pup at Duncansby Stacks. A pup had been photographed in poor condition on the beach. Bearing in mind if a lift was possible the beach there is much easier to get to at low water. The idea was to get an idea of weather a rescue was possible, so that a team could be prepared for a lift later in the day at low water. We got there around 7.30am it was bitter cold with a strong wind and with a ¾ mile walk to the stacks we set off at a brisk pace. If you have not taken the trouble to do this walk, do it. The stacks are wonderful as is the scenery on the way. When we arrived we noticed a steep path that due to the weather was really very dangerous, it would at least have meant getting a climbing team in with ropes to get to the beach, the issue with low water is that there is a head land that didn’t look nice to cross with the tide in. As we peered over the headland we saw the next and impossible problem, which was, 50-70 pups on the beach lots of adults there feeding and having a rest. I took some photos of the beach and we headed back. Sent an email to Jason at head office suggesting we did not attempt a rescue due to the disturbance we could cause and goodness knows how many pups could end up abandoned. Head office agreed and we had to leave nature to take its course.

Sunday afternoon call number three comes in, a lady at Talmine has spotted a pup on a grass verge under some bracken [pic below] she believes it has been carried to this spot by some one trying to do the right thing. Called Jim Thompson and Karen Munro who headed off as quick as they could on arrival the lady who had spotted it sent a family member to help locate it Jim gave me a call to tell me it had not only been touched but also in poor condition. The pup was to be lifted. It was in a bad position for a lift however Jim managed to get in behind it and jumped it well done Jim always an uneasy moment. The pup was put in a kennel, mean while I had arranged to meet Nick in Inverness with the pup for the relay to a holding unit. Jim and Karen were really quick on the return run. Davey and I where soon on our way Nick was a little faster than us as he had better roads and managed to meet us at Tain where the pup was tube fed still snarling then sped off to the holding unit. The pup is to be transferred to MiddleBank re-hab tomorrow.

Davey and I hot foot it back to Thurso with bed in mind after an early start at 11.15pm we get back to Sommerfields and the phone rings a call from Paula to say that she had been called to say a lady had picked up a pup on the beach that day and was holding it in her porch. As we where at the traffic lights any way we headed for Skarfskerry. When we arrived she showed us to an outbuilding at the back of her house there was the pup alright she had even gone to the trouble of putting up a pool with salt water in it thankfully the pup had not been for a swim. We examined the pup which had a swollen front flipper with puncture wounds oozing puss. At the base of the back was another nasty wound which was bloody. It also had milky coloured eyes, which is often a sign of poor condition and dehydration. Called head office and headed for the vet who met us at the surgery at Thurso. The pup was examined hissing all the way then given antibiotics and painkillers. Bearing in mind the time 1 am the decision was made to over night the pup at my house for transfer today. The pup was fed and its temp and respiration was taken it was a little chilly 36.5 so at 2.30am we put it to bed in my shower with a teddy LOL. This morning a place was found at MiddleBank for it again with a stop over night on the way. Karen Munro stepped into the breach and agreed to do the transport (thanks Karen) she met Caroline Heart at Dornoch who in turn took the pup to Nairn to meet with Nick who delivered it safe and sound tonight at the holding centre. What a weekend.

Thank you to all of those involved at all stages including our collegues in the south without whom this would not have been possible. We have a great team up here in Caithness, which is being realised already by head office who has acknowledged our efforts over the weekend. So good job everyone.

Richard Bradley
Marine Mammal Medic

Further thanks:

Talmine pup "Capri" - Thanks to the following ; Jason Carter (Kent/BDMLR On-Call), Nick Duthie (Aberdeenshire), Elaine Roft & Team (Montrose), Allan Muir (Tayforth), Jamie Dyer (NWH), James Barnett - BDMLR Vet Coordinator, GWT, SSPCA Middlebank

Dunnet Pup "Tanya" - Thanks to the following ; Jason Carter (Kent/BDMLR On-Call), Andy Ireland & Team (Buchan), Nick Duthie (Aberdeenshire), Elaine Roft (Montrose), James Barnett - BDMLR Vet Coordinator