STAFF from St Andrews Aquarium in Fife were involved in a daring seal pup rescue on West Sands Beach in St Andrews yesterday, after being inundated with phone calls from members of the public to assist the small grey seal pup that had washed up on the beach.
Working with the Scottish SPCA, team members from St Andrews Aquarium, situated on the edge of West Sands Beach, rushed to the scene where a young male seal pup, believed to be only several weeks old, was clearly in distress. Another member of the public had stood watch over the little one, guarding it from seagulls and dogs who were also showing a keen interest in the flippery visitor.
Andrews Whiston, displays manager at St Andrews Aquarium, described the scene: “Around lunchtime we started getting inundated with calls from members of the public to attend to this very young seal pup who appeared to be in distress.
“Upon assessing the situation we immediately called the Scottish SPCA to attend.
“Because of the general physical state of the young animal, who was very underweight, shivering and clearly very ill, they asked if we could capture him and administer immediate first aid treatment pending their arrival, which we duly did.
“Time was clearly of the essence and our first task was to get the young pup warm as he was clearly struggling with the temperatures of the Scottish winter. We kept him off the ground on a warm vet bed until the Scottish SPCA could collect him and take him to their wildlife rescue centre in Fife.”
The Scottish SPCA, which rescues around 100 common and grey seal pups each year, confirmed today that the young seal, weighing in at only 13.8kg, is brighter this morning and is expected to make a full recovery in due course. Staff have named him after the space shuttle Atlantis.
Scottish SPCA Wildlife Rescue Centre manager, Colin Seddon, said: “Atlantis was very light and hadn’t been thriving so this was clearly a seal pup that needed rescuing. We’ll continue to care for Atlantis until he is ready to be released back into the wild. In the meantime, we will be feeding him up and introducing him to some of the other 22 sick and injured grey seal pups we are currently rehabilitating.”
Unlike the mythical Greek Island of the same name, this little seal is very likely to survive his day of misfortune.
Anyone who finds a distressed seal pup onthe shore should call the Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999 for advice and assistance.
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