DCSIMG

Seal pup found on car dashboard by rescuers

Smartie the seal pup relaxes on the car's dashboard. Picture: SSPCA

Smartie the seal pup relaxes on the car's dashboard. Picture: SSPCA

  • by FRANK URQUHART
 

AN ADVENTUROUS seal pup bizarrely ending up relaxing on the dashboard of a car while being rescued from a busy lorry park during a storm on the Scottish coast.

The bold pup - now named “Smartie” - somehow broke out of the boot of the car of one of his rescuers and sought refuge between the steering wheel and the windscreen where he was spotted by an astonished officer from a leading animal welfare charity who had been called to the scene. And now Smartie, fully recovered from his “Top Gear” antics, is being prepared for a return to the wild at the Scottsh SPCA’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre near Alloa

A spokeswoman for the SSPCA explained that Smartie’s adventure began on 17 January when workers at the Cairnryan ferry terminal at Stranraer spotted the six week old male seal pup in a busy lorry park as a storm lashed the coast.

She said: “Despite their best efforts to encourage him back into the water he refused to go and when he was still there on Friday morning staff grew concerned for his safety and contacted Scotland’s animal welfare charity for help.

“One worker picked the seal pup up and put him in the boot of his car to keep him out of harm’s way but the seal managed to break out and was found lying on the dashboard of the car when Scottish SPCA Animal Rescue Officer Alistair Hill arrived.”

‘Smart seal’

Mr Hill said: “The weather in the area was particularly bad last week, with winds of 50-60mph and very stormy seas. “The seal pup had made its way into the lorry park via a steep, man-made banking. It would have taken a lot of effort for him to get up there and he had no intention of returning to the choppy waters.

“Normally we’d ask people to leave seals alone until we arrive but there was a risk he could have been injured in the busy lorry park so a member of staff put him in their car until I got there.

“However, the seal managed to escape from the boot by pushing down one of the rear seats and wriggling up onto the dashboard. He is clearly a very smart seal as he ended up watching the storm out

the windscreen of the car from his warm, dry spot on the dash.”

‘Weak and dehydrated’

Colin Seddon, the manager of the rescue centre near Alloa, said: “Smartie was weak and dehydrated when he first arrived but he’s now doing really well in our care and already feeding himself.

“He’s currently housed in an individual seal pen which has a wet and dry area for him. As he grows in strength and size we’ll move him to one of our outdoor pools where he’ll interact with other seals and get used to

swimming and feeding in the deeper water.”

He added: “We hope to return Smartie to the wild in about a month’s time, but only when we’re sure he’s fully fit and able to fend for himself.”

An SSPCA spokeswoman added: “Anyone who discovers an injured or distressed animal should call the

Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999.”

 

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