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


2006-11-22 15:17:35

Demanding Midweek Mayhem - N. Scotland

The day started with a call from Thurso police station at around 10am. A gentleman had been walking his dogs on the beach in town and had seen a seal pup there. While I was taking the call medic Richard Bradley was already on his way to pick me up, with the intention of taking a drive to check on another pup we are watching on the east side of the county, so plans had changed by the time he got to me. I let Sue know at head office and when Richard arrived a few minutes later we set off down to Thurso beach.

We quickly located the pup, slap bang in the middle of the beach, laying on its back and shaking and shivering though with no visible signs of injury though looking a little underweight. After a call to head office again to say we had located it, Richard took a picky on his phone and sent it to Tony Woodley for a quick assessment to confirm our suspicion it was to be lifted and sent south. After about ten minutes we had the confirmation of this and we rang Davey to bring us the black tank down from home. Davey and I lifted the pup into a seal bag and took it back to the truck. I arranged for some fluids to be given as soon as possible, as the pup was dehydrated and hypothermic too, so a quick drive back home with it and let it warm up a little while waiting for information of where it was to go.

During the afternoon the pup settled down and slept and was quite content after the fluids and arrangements have been made to transport the pup south tomorrow. That left me to just make bedding down arrangements for the night.

While settling the pup down in its overnight accommodation, the phone rang again and lo and behold it was another pup in distress! So Davey got hold of medic Jim Thomson, while I informed head office of the possibility of another lift today. We meet with Jim at Dunnet Ranger Station so we could arrive at the second pup at Harrow Harbour together as it was now about 5.30pm and pitch dark. We had been given some pretty vague directions, but we found pup number two within ten minutes, again right against the cliffs almost as if it was hiding. At the first quick look, it was a definite lift and take to the vet for a shot of antibiotics, as it had a gaping hole in its side behind the left front flipper which was oozing lots of pus.

Thankfully it was fairly docile, and Jim and Davey soon had it in the bag and we were on our way back to the cars. Once at the car we transferred it into a black tank again, I let Jason Carter (on call) know of the pick up, rang the vet to forewarn them of our arrival and set off back to Thurso.

The vet saw us at about 7.30pm after his normal appointments and cut away the dead fatty tissue that was oozing, cleaned the hole out and administered antibiotics, as well as some eye ointment.

After the treatment I shot home to download today's pictures off my camera and emailed them off for advice from James Barnett and Jason Carter. I then let the other people involved in the transportation of the pups what was happening, then set off to bed this one down for the night after some fluids had been administered. Jason then contacted me and said he would get James Barnett to contact me after he had spoken to him, as I needed advice for the Thurso pup that had started to shake and had a higher temperature than earlier.

When James rang we spoke about the condition of the pup and he then advised antibiotics, so that was another trip to the vet. Andy Ireland rang soon after and we discussed the transport arrangements for the following day. All in all a busy day again for the area and I am very proud of the team we have up here.

I would just like to say a big Thank You to everyone involved today and I am proud to be a part of a great team in the UK.

Paula Gent
BDMLR Caithness Coordinator