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

News

2009-01-15 10:45:47

Seals set to make a splash with new swimming pool

New seal swimming poolRescued seal pups in a sanctuary in Scotland will get the perfect New Year present - a swimming pool specially designed to help them on the road back to health and to freedom.

The Highland seal hospital near John O'Groats in Scotland is run by UK charity British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), a network of volunteers around the UK who come to the aid of sick, injured or stranded marine wildlife.

2008 has been a particularly busy year at the hospital which is currently caring for eight seal pups. Most rescued seals are underweight and in need of urgent veterinary attention when they are brought in. They are kept in special seal pools at the hospital for an average of three months. Initially they are fed on artificial milk that replicates super-enriched mother’s milk and subsequently weaned on to quality assured herring that are purchased in Scotland. Once they reach the correct weight and are given a clean bill of health they are released into an outdoor pool to build them up in readiness for release back into the wild.

Previously the hospital has used a normal portable swimming pool for the seals. However last year they found the plastic liner irresistible and chewed a huge hole in it.

BDMLR put out an emergency call to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, an NGO originally founded to campaign against the hunting of harp seals in Canada. IFAW responded with a generous donation to cover replacing the pool. A £3000 donation also came in from an anonymous donor in Scotland and £1000 from the VT Group plc.

Once the donations had been received, BDMLR commissioned the pool from specialist pool maker K G Composites and Mouldings Ltd. Within two weeks the company had constructed the 20 ft diameter circular pool, split in half for easy transport. It was shipped up from Colchester to John O'Groats on Monday 8 December. The pool arrived at the hospital on the morning of 10 Dec and was soon erected. The pool needed to be sealed with silicone and due to the low temperatures over the Christmas break we have only just been able to seal the pool.

Alan Knight OBE, Chairman of Brititsh Divers Marine Life Rescue, said:

"We are determined to give the seals that we rescue the very best chance of making a full recovery and returning to the wild. The new pool will allow them to take to the water and readjust to a marine environment before they are set free. I am always amazed and delighted by the generosity of other organisations and individuals and I would like to thank them all for helping us to purchase this pool for the seals in our care."

For further information and to obtain images, contact Alan Knight, BDMLR, on 01825 765546/01825 767688.

» BDMLR Highland Seal Hospital blog

Press Contact: Alan Knight, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, 01825 765546