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


2013-02-27 09:56:23

BDMLR Moray Seal Unit updates

Apologies from the webmaster for these late updates!

Cullen Seal Report 6.3.13

I was on my way to drop off our caravan when I received a call from Julia at Head Office telling me about a pup on Cullen beach. I turned around and pick up a seal box and my gear and headed out to Cullen in what must have looked the most unlikely rescue vehicle. I was met by Graham Thompson and Erin Melville who had been watching the pup for over an hour and a half whilst keeping dogs and members of the public away. Graham gave me some details and having checked the pup from a distanced I decided to pick it up as it appeared dehydrated and was covered in small bite scars.  Watched by a small crowd I jumped the pup, with out incident, and with Graham's help loaded him into the box and carried it to the car. I headed of to Findochty caravan park, getting some strange looks in a vehicle with signs  telling everyone to keep clear "LIVE seals in transit" whilst towing a caravan,With the van delivered it was back home to sort out the pup from Cullen, "Skink".

Elizabeth Harley  a local medic came over to give me a hand with the tubing, both the 7:00 o'clock and 11:00 o'clock feeds. We assessed the pup whose breathing was rapid and his temperature was slightly high. With some fluids and rest his breathing had settled down. Thankfully after the second feed he realised we were trying to help and was a little more cooperative about the tubing and had stopped trying to hide in the corner of the pen, and just peeping over the door flap.

I got up early and had cleaned and fed a more relaxed Skink  by 7:30. giving him an hour to rest I put him in the box and loaded him up for the 170 mile journey to SSPCA wildlife centre at Fishcross. Where we were met by Colin who gave me a hand to get him inside to be registered, with him weighed and put in his new pen and after a quick chat with the girls and a top up with tea, I headed back up the road just after 1:30.

Thanks to all involved in this and the other 3 pups over the last few weeks, fingers crossed that this was the last pup for this season and our next guest will be a common.

Peterhead Seal report 12.2.13

Around mid afternoon, I received a call from Lesley at Peterhead police station asking if I could pick up a seal pup, a Mr Rettie had reported seeing it over the last 3 days, sadly now, it was laying next to a dead seal which I can only guess was its mother. I called Julia at Head Office, who contacted Elaine Helyer a local medic who would check on it after she finished work. Elaine called me to say the pup was in good shape but looked dehydrated and its eyes were a bit scabby, as such she felt it should be picked up, I agreed and told her I would take it to the Moray Seal Rescue Unit for fluids and release it after 24 hours. I arranged to meet her after she had picked up the pup. I headed East and Elaine headed North we met on the A98 near New Pitsligo and exchanged the pup, I was expecting a small pup possibly still dependent or at the weening stage, what I got was a large fully weened and moulted monster.

With the pup loaded in the back of my car I headed home, where Michelle, now able to get back to handling the seals after a 12 month brake, due to ill Heath had prepared the Unit for our latest guest.  We carefully weighed the pup who was 28.5 Kgs, we worked out the Lectade dosage and set about the task of getting this vital fluid into the pup, hoping to keep all our digits in tact, all went well. With the pup assessed and tubed we left him to settle in for the night. I called Jamie and we talked about the options for giving the pup the best possible chance, now called Pitsligo (after the rendezvous point).

It was decided we would continue giving fluids and then release him at the Skerries off Lossiemouth where there is a grey seal colony. This would be done at dusk to enable us to give as much fluids as possible, make the most of the outgoing tide, and get him into the sea with less chance of being disturbed by people on the beach walking their dogs.


Another early start with Michelle giving up her warm bed and wishing she was still unable to go near pups, we had fed Pitsligo, and cleaned his eyes before 7:00 o'clock. This would then enable us to get 3 feeds in before the release. All feeds went well and with the help off Elizabeth Harley we soon had him loaded in the car. With everybody wrapped up against the weather we set off to the release site. With the beach empty we carried the box to the shoreline and with cameras ready we, opened the lid expecting a mad dash as an excited Pitsligo headed out to sea.

However, after 2 days full-board, all inclusive, it seemed he wanted to stay and enjoy the comforts a bit longer, with a gentle nudge and some seal herding we got him to the waters edge, as the cold sea gently lapped over him, his instincts kicked in and he was off, we watched him swim around exploring his new home, eventually the light faded and we lost site of him as he was happily swimming about behind the rocks. We hoped he would soon come across some other seals from the colony and begin his new life, but would come back in the morning to make sure all was well.


We returned to check the beach and after a stroll along the front thankfully there was no sign of our or any other seal pups This was the first "Rescue to Release" for Moray Seal Rescue and it felt good to see our pup go back to where he belongs, in the wild and free.

Special thanks to Mr Rettie from Peterhead, for reporting the pup, to Elaine for picking it up and meeting me part of the way, to Michelle for helping me with the feeds and Elizabeth for helping with the release. Also for Jamie for constantly being at the end of the phone whenever I needed advice and finally to Julia for coordinating the pup pick-up.

Hopeman Seal Report 8.2.13

I received a call from Julia in the morning telling me a Mr Geoff Mitchell, had reported seeing a seal pup on some kelp at the high tide line near Daisy Rock at Hopeman which is also where we live.  As Michelle was not well I contacted local medic Elizabeth Harley and asked if she was available, thankfully she able to help me and notch up her first rescue. We found the pup exactly where Geoff had described.

We loaded the pup into the car we headed back home to the Moray Seal Rescue Unit. With the pup weighed and assessed, we found a small wound on her lower left jaw and a puncture mark on the top of her head, she was dehydrated and only weighed 15kgs. we set about cleaning the wounds and giving fluids. She had a low temperature so I turned on the heat lamp and by just after midday "Shay" as she was now called was settled in and ready for a well earned sleep.

Elizabeth was back at 16:00 to help out with the next feed, and as I had a prior arrangements and was unable to go myself, had kindly offered to take Shay all the way to the SSPCA Wildlife Rescue Centre at Fishcross near Sterling, I fed Shay at 20:00 and again at midnight with no drama, as she was getting used to the routine. With an early start planned it was off to bed at just after 1:00.


All too early the alarm went off at 6:45, I got up and sorted out breakfast and coffee for all (except Shay), Elizabeth was due to arrive just before 8:00 so I waited to feed Shay and prepare her for the journey until the last minute. Elizabeth arrived and dropped off her dog Benji as Michelle was looking after him for the day while Shay was taken to Fishcross.

I loaded Shay into Elizabeth's car, then left for my day out, leaving the girls to sort out the dogs. I called Elizabeth to see how she was getting on and she told me she had a problem with her car but had managed to get to the SSPCA  and dropped Shay off, while waiting for the RAC she was having a tour of the wildlife centre. With her car sorted she set off up the road, I arranged to meet her at Aviemore and after a brew we came up the road together, arriving home at 7:30 in the evening. With Elizabeth and a tired Benji reunited she left to go home.

Thanks to Geoff for reporting the pup, to Elizabeth for helping with the rescue and especially for taking Shay to Fishcross.

Boonie and Michelle
BDMLR Medics
BDMLR Moray Seal Rescue Unit



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