Abandoned seal pup saved

The first abandoned seal pup of the season was rescued at Hougharry, North Uist last weekend.
The first abandoned seal pup of the season was rescued at Hougharry, North Uist last weekend.

The British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) Outer Hebrides team successfully saved their first abandoned grey seal pup of this year’s breeding season at the weekend.

The pup was discovered by a member of the public on Saturday morning, September 22nd at Hougharry on North Uist and reported to BDMLR via the SSPCA and the Coastguard.

BDMLR volunteers observed the pup for 36 hours in order to be 100% sure that its mother as no longer with it.

And as there were no sign of the mother and the pup had visibly lost body condition and beginning to show signs of dehydration, the decision was made to take the animal in for treatment.

BDMLR Outer Hebrides volunteer Sandy Macdoanld said: “It was a 1.2metre long whitecoat pup and had a large, deep wound on its left side going into the blubber layer and several bites.

“Although it was still quite fat it was beginning to lose weight after being separated from its mother and was still too young to survive on its own.”

The abandoned pup was taken by ferry to Skye on Monday, September 24th, before being relayed by BDMLR volunteers to the new SSPCA wildlife rescue centre in Alloa.

With the grey seal breeding season now started, if members of the public think they have found an abandoned pup, it’s asked they do not approach or touch the animal, but seek expert help.

“Please do not attempt to touch a pup if you find one,” warned Sandy. “No matter how cute they look they can, and will, inflict very nasty bites and the human smell you will leave on the pup will cause the mother to abandon it if she is still around.”

She added: “Also, please do not attempt to put any seal pup back in the water as they are not very good swimmers when they still have their whitecoats nor when they are thin and weak or exhausted after battling rough weather and forcing them back in the water may cause them to drown.”

If you find a seal pup on a beach and think it’s been abandoned, call BDMLR Outer Hebrides on 01825 765546 during office hours and 07787433412 out of office hours.