Scottish SPCA: Scottish animal charity caring for young ringed seal normally found in arctic waters
The seal was found in distress at Cove Bay Harbour, and is now in the care of a Scottish animal charity.
The seal, which has been named Hispi, was found by the British Divers Marine Life Rescue after he was spotted in the Aberdeen harbour.
He had abrasions on his back and appeared lethargic.
Firstly, he was mistaken for a common seal pup, and it was only when he arrived at the Society’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre that he was identified as a ringed seal, a species that is a great deal rarer in Scottish waters.
Ringed seal’s are normally found in arctic waters, and although are known to venture south, there has been fewer than 30 sightings of them in the UK in the last century.
Sian Belcher, SSPCA wildlife assistant, said: “We were very surprised to have a ringed seal arrive in our care as they are found in arctic waters and can venture as far south as Greenland or Norway so it’s very unusual that he was found in the Aberdeen area.
“As he is so young, probably only around six to eight weeks old, we think his mum may have been searching for food and it brought her to the north of Scotland. She must have then given birth to this wee pup who has now found himself in our care.
“It’s unlikely that she ventured south due to warmer seas caused by global warming as ringed seals need colder water, not warmer.
“It seems that there have only been around 12-30 sightings of ringed seals in the UK over the last 100 years. They are one of the most widespread seals on the planet but concentrated in the arctic area.
“We decided to call him Hispi. He wasn’t too underweight when he arrived but is eating well and putting on some weight.
“Hispi is doing well and our team are very excited to have such a rare resident. It doesn’t hurt that he’s impossibly cute.
“He will most likely stay with us in to October and then we will need to get as far north as we possibly can to release him so he can find his way back home.”
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