SSPCA rescues seal pup found washed on to rocks

NO-one likes to be separated from their family at Christmas, so spare a thought for this five-week-old seal pup.

• Calm the seal pup was found on Portobello beach when she was just over one week old

The grey seal is thought to have been washed away from its mother on to rocks at Portobello beach where she was discovered by a member of the public.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She is now being cared for at the Scottish SPCA's Wildlife Rescue Centre in Dunfermline, and will be released back into the River Forth early next year.

Manager of the centre, Colin Seddon, said there had been an increase in the number of seal pups being rescued after becoming separated from their mothers over the last year.

The centre is currently caring for 18 grey seal pups, nine of which were picked up in Lothian waters.

Mr Seddon said: "The seal pup was stuck up in the rocks at Portobello, it was only just over a week old at the time and should have been with its mother, but got washed away from her.

"We have had a lot of whitecoat seal pups coming in to the centre, which are up to three weeks old. If they are separated at that time, they are in big trouble.

"We're getting more seal pups partly because the number of grey seals seems to be on the increase, but it can also be something as simple as the wind direction."

He added: "They usually stay with us for about three months. Their natural history is that the mother stays with them for three weeks and then leaves them anyway.

"Once the seals are fully independent, they will just wander the seas until they reach breeding age and they find one of the colonies."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The female seal was named Calm by staff at the centre and is now around five weeks old.

"Our theme for naming seals brought into the centre this year is anything to do with water," said Mr Seddon. "The name Calm seems to fit in with her nature as well. We have a different theme each year, we name them because it's a good point of reference for us."

Calm was uninjured when she was rescued by Scottish SPCA ambulance driver Mairi Stewart but was thin and weak.

When the seals are first brought to the centre, they are rehydrated for three days. They are then fed fish soup for the next couple of weeks, before moving on to solid fish.

Mr Seddon said: "Once they're feeding themselves we just throw fish to them and put them into bigger and bigger pools. When they reach 30-35 kilos, we put them back into the wild."