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


2014-09-23 10:37:22

Felixstowe pup delivered to RSPCA East Winch

Visit to deliver a seal pup to RSPCA Wildlife Hospital at East Winch Sunday 21.9.14

At 11.30 am we had a seal pup rescue at Felixstowe that Ian Bishop attended.

As I was going up to Norfolk I notified East Winch of the intended delivery of the poorly seal pup and met Ian at Bury St Edmund's Tesco store near the sugar beet factory to continue the relay.  I would arrive slightly later than planned at about 2.30 pm. I donned a white boiler suit and white boots.

The poorly girl common seal pup booked in weighing 11.9 kgs and I chose ‘Shekel’ from a list of names (this year they are all being called after money!).

While I was there Jo Meade from the RSPCA gave me a quick look around East Winch where they currently have 16 seal pups in first stage rehab, mostly two to a kennel.  I was pleased to see some of our previous rescued seal pups doing well – Peseta, Zloty, Quid and Franc. I didn’t see Wonga so not sure about that one. Sadly Pfennig, Euro and Peso hadn’t survived and as all deceased seals at the centre get a post mortem some have been found with such bad lungworm that they had no chance!

I was also shown some of the other wildlife brought in by the public/RSPCA inspectors (Matt appeared briefly) including swans, tawny owls, pigeons, a roe deer, a pipistrelle bat (fed with mealworms), a gull and a very thin badger.

We then went back to see how ‘Shekel’ was doing on her own as she’d had time to calm down from the journey.  I donned some vinyl gloves and 3 of us entered the kennel with Shekel and Jo showed me how new arrivals are treated.

With a towel over Shekel's head to calm her down and get close to inspect for damage/illness, she was examined and found to have superficial abrasions and was thin. Firstly a feed solution was given to her by tube – mainly liquid to re-hydrate her. When tube feeding it was noticed that she had an ulcer in her mouth and some solution was squeezed around the gums. Her eyes were a bit mucousy so they were bathed. Next she had 2 injections towards the tail end of her back – one for lung worm (the first of three) and the other was an antibiotic. So next at the tail end she needed her temperature taken. Being careful not to put the thermometer into the wrong orifice, the assistant held on tightly as it had to be pushed in as far as possible – being careful not to lose the thermometer completely! Temperature was 39° and was ok but over 40° would have indicated a probable infection. The abrasions were bathed with Hibiscrub solution. Finally she was measured from nose to tail and I think was 94 cms. Also she was measured around her belly. At the entrance door to each kennel there is record sheet for each animal (recording meds and feeding details, etc) and a tray of disinfectant water in front of the door for stepping in and out of with wellies to avoid any cross contaminations.

Following on from that we visited the ‘intermediate area’ where the seals have more room and some water to splash and play around in if they want. We found Yen (from Felixstowe) with another seal and was happy there. (Probably about 6 seal pups in there to include 1 grey seal)

Finally we went outside to the area with 2 outdoor pools. For this we had to change into different wellies to stop the possible spread of infections. There were 2 pools; one bigger and deeper than the other. About 8 common seal pups and one grey seal pup were happily playing in them. They were all very inquisitive when we checked them, even if they were expecting more food!

Around 4pm it was time to leave them to it and go home.  It's great to know that the seals we pick up are being looked after so well.

Jo Collins
BDMLR Medic and Out-of-Hours Coordinator

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