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


2009-04-07 08:57:43

Seal Pup call out, Balmedie Beach

While preparing tea for the fiancée, I received a text message asking for a medic to attend Balmedie Beach, Aberdeen, to check on a pup reported by a member of the public with blood around its mouth.

After abandoning tea (sorry dear!) I loaded up the car and headed out to Balmedie Visitor Centre. I was delighted to find the seal pup after crossing the dunes and heading north for 25 minutes, instead of the reported 50.

I was rather apprehensive as I was on my own, and it was only my second seal pup call out. Anyway, the pup was quite far up the beach, and looked like a young grey, although it had lost its white fur. There was a slightly visible neck and what I thought was a large number of skin folds. I did note blood on both corners of its mouth, and it was rubbing the left corner quite a bit. When using the DSLR with zoom, the corners appeared quite raw.

It was reasonably alert, although it quickly settled and its eyes were closed for much of the time between grumpy episodes, and was not moving around too much, indeed, made no attempt to move away when approached. There was no other obvious injuries, and there was no disturbance risk. Well, apart from me...

I quickly took a few pics with the mobile to send to HQ for advice, and after a quick chat with Mark, it was decided to get Stacy from Peterhead to come down with a transport tank. Stacy had already been alerted by Sue and arrived about an hour after I phoned her (thanks for not leaving me in the freezing cold too long Stacy!).

A second chat with Andrew Ireland and a few more mobile pics confirmed that although not seriously underweight, it should come in and be assessed by New Deer vet Lawrence, who had already confirmed with HQ he had space if needed.

Getting the pup in the tank was interesting, as what was a fairly lethargic pup with one "onlooker" became quite quick with the two of us, and did make us wonder if it should be left for another day. However, It did appear to be favouring its right fore flipper, and so we thought it prudent to get it to Lawrence for a proper check up.

After an hour and a bit of dragging the tank along the beach and over the now mountainous dunes, in the dark, we finally loaded the tank into Stacy's car for the onward journey to New Deer.

Many thanks to Sue and Mark at HQ, Stacy and the tank, as well as Andy and Lawrence.

Stuart Fraser
MMM Aberdeen