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


2015-05-12 21:40:03

Lionel the seal with fishing “line all” over it

On Thursday 23 April BDMLR Medic Boonie received a call from North 58 Adventures about a seal entangled in fishing line at Findhorn. Pippa from 58 North adventures (also a BDMLR medic) and Jamie from Findhorn Marina met Boonie that evening and they headed out to find the seal.

The young male grey seal eluded capture that evening and appeared to be in good condition and was able to swim and feed. The team decided to attempt another capture in the morning.

Morning searches found no sign of the seal, and it wasn’t until the afternoon that I was spotted on the other side of the bay. With the tide going out Boonie organised the team to meet at 6.30pm to give them more opportunity to catch the seal as more beach would be exposed.

The monofilament net cut from the sealWhen the team arrived though the animal was close to the waters edge. So they used 58 North Adventures’ RIB with Pippa at the helm, Jamie on standby to take over and BDMLR Medic Michelle and Boonie at the front ready to jump off and cut the seal off before it had chance to go back into the sea.

When they arrived the seal appeared asleep, but it woke, so Pippa beached the RIB and Michelle and Boonie leapt off the nose and ran up the beach and jump it. Pippa handed over to Jamie and joined us on the beach where she took control of the tail end, while Boonie controlled the head. Michelle used a safety knife to carefully cut away the mono-filament fishing line which was wrapped twice around its body. The line had cut into its skin causing a cut deep into the shoulder area. Once this was removed the seal could move all its limbs, but Boonie decided it would be best to get a Vet to give it some long lasting antibiotic and pain relief.

The now feisty 42 kilo seal now named Lionel (Line All) by Jamie, as it had line all over it, was transferred into one of the pens to rest until the morning when Miller & Swann Veterinary was open.

The next morning as vet John Miller got the medication ready, Boonie and Michelle pinned the seal and John gave the treatment. With this done without any hassle Boonie and Michelle took Lionel back home and waited for a mid point  tide.

Lionel was taken to the far bank and given a final check. His wounds were treated with anti-bacterial spray and then he was let go. After a brief pause he headed back to the sea and swam freely for the first time in a while. We monitored him as he headed out towards the rest of the large colony seals at the mouth of the estuary.

A great result thanks to all involved, especially to Pippa and all at North 58 Adventures and Findhorn Marina for constantly monitoring the beach and for the use of their boats without which the rescue would not have been possible.

Boonie and Michelle
BDMLR Medics
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