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


2009-03-08 09:19:20

Grey seal pup caught in monofilament netting at Inverbervie

Grey seal pup06.03.09
I was contacted by Sue White at BDMLR Head Office asking me to assist Aberdeenshire Co-coordinator Nick Duthie (who was standing in for Elaine Roft) at Inverbervie where a seal pup had been entangled in monofilament netting. A member of the public had managed to cut the netting off the pup before we arrived on scene. Tetracycline spray was administered to the seals rear flippers before it took to the water. We were not 100 percent happy due to the pup being a borderline candidate for uplift and showing signs of slight dehydration, but otherwise lively and spirited. We decided to continue monitoring on Saturday if it happened to haul out again.

Ian Sim

It was a frustrating day since we couldn’t catch the juvenile grey seal to do a proper assessment after its entanglement. Although approachable the seal was strong and aggressive when we tried to take a closer look. Its body condition is reasonable, with minor abrasions on its neck and fore flippers where it had struggled to free itself from the netting. Local residents Ingrid and Hugh had done an excellent job of carefully removing the netting but were lucky to get away with only a torn pair of trousers. Handling seals without specialist training can be a hazardous and painful experience. We left the seal to rest overnight to be re-assessed in the morning.

Nick Duthie
Medic and Aberdeenshire Co-coordinator

08.03.09 AM
Pup back on beach, Nick Duthie monitoring again and elevated breathing. Nick Duthie has spoken to Jamie Dyer who has advised leaving it to rest overnight and a decision can be made on Sunday if the pup is still in the same location and showing signs of deterioration.

08.03.09 PM
SSPCA inspector Nicola Stewart called me at 6.30 pm, she had also been to assess the seal in the afternoon and wanted to check what we thought, Likewise she agreed it was a borderline uplift and was happy to leave it with Nick monitoring for now. Nick Duthie was updated on the call from Nicola and arrangements were made to continue liaisons between SSPCA and BDMLR if the seal was reported to either organisations on Sunday.

Elaine Roft
Medic and Co-coordinator

Our pup is back on the beach today and after another assessment of the seals condition, the decision was made to uplift it and take it to rehab at Middlebank. Although the pup had occasionally coughed during the previous days monitoring, it had not coughed up anything. However today it had blood around its mouth and its breathing rate was elevated and that caused concern. The seal’s dehydration was slightly worse and it was more lethargic so, with a request put to Elaine for assistance, I was joined 20 minutes later by Medic Rebecca Chambers. Due to its aggressive nature previously we were being particularly cautious, so we herded it into the seal transportation tank instead of lifting it into the VariKennel. Relieved that we had escaped with all digits intact I proceeded to Broughty Ferry where Medic Stewart Burns was waiting to resume relay to Middlebank having been called by Elaine. SSPCA central control and SSPCA inspector Nicola Stewart were informed by Elaine of the pups uplift today.

Nick Duthie
Medic and Aberdeenshire Co-coordinator