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


2005-12-05 15:47:24

Boddam, Aberdeenshire, seal pup rescue

9.13 – Member of public (Mr Ian Smith) contacted Sue at BDMLR HQ to advise that he had came across a seal pup near the lighthouse at Boddam.

9.20 – Sue immediately contacted Medic Andrew Cordiner and advised him of the pup.

9.30 – I (Andrew Cordiner) arrived on scene and after carrying out an extensive search of the area; I came across a very small pup, which I must add was very well camouflaged by the surroundings. The pup had somehow managed to make its way a good distance from the sea but into a reasonably sheltered location. He was on the south side of the Bucanness lighthouse island. I contacted the Assistant Co-ordinator just to advise that I was attending the incident and then went about some observations. The pup, which we named ‘Ozwald’, was in a safe location and looking in reasonable condition.

10.00 - I had to leave just to get my grab bag and various bits of kit.

11.15 – I returned and carried out further observations. There was a good few other adult seals in the area, it was hard to tell if any was his mother as the area is renowned for its booming seal population with may hundreds gathering on the Skerry Rock most of the year round.

12.00 – Ozwald’s breathing was slightly high at 17/18 with slight wheezing. He had no signs of trauma or bleeding, he was still moulting (with large clumps of white fluff everywhere) and was responsive but relaxed. He was however slightly under weight but it was not a major concern. The plan was to wait till high water at 1500 and then re-assess the situation.

12.10 – Using mobile technology, a photo was sent to Trevor Weeks who discussed the appearance with Jamie at Oban and confirmed that we should hold off and wait for the parent to come back.

14.00 – After observing for a long while I left to get some lunch. Just before I left, BDMLR Vet Cameron phoned and discussed the situation.

14.30 – I attended the pup again and carried out more observations. The weather began to close in and started to rain.

15.00 – Ozwald was coughing and wheezing quiet badly. Earlier in the day, Trevor had forwarded my picture to Sue at HQ who sent it on to James Barnett and Cameron McPherson.

The tide had came in and was as its highest possible height. At this point it was beginning to get cold and dark. I contacted James and Cameron, discussing the possibility of just relocating the pup so as the mother could see him and return to feed. Both vets advised that uplift would be the best resolution and moving the pup to a higher position, more visible from the sea may only put Ozwald in danger.

15.10 – We gave the pup one final bit of rest, hoping that the mother would return before we got back with the container and transportation kit.

15.20 – Contacted Grampian Wildlife trust for a pen, one was available and it was alright to bring him in if necessary.

15.35 – There was no sign of any mother in the water so Ozwald was loaded in to the tank for transportation.

15.40 – Departed for Grampian Wildlife Hospital.

16.30 – Ozwald arrived safely at the Wildlife Hospital.

Thanks to all that assisted with this rescue, including Mr. Smith, Sue at HQ, Trevor Weeks and Jamie at Oban Sealife, Elaine Roft, Various friends who assisted me, James Barnett and Cameron McPherson and Lawrence at Grampian Wildlife Hospital. If there is anyone I have missed then a big thank you for your guidance.

Andrew Cordiner
Marine Mammal Medic