A young seal pup has been rescued after being stranded at Cruden Bay for four days.
Medics from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) charity went out this morning following worried calls from locals.
Volunteers Dawn Simpson and Stacey Esson have now organised a relay to transfer the pup to the National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Fishcross, Alloa.
Ms Simpson, who began assisting BDMLR three years ago and became a medic last year, said: “The pup is a common seal and it looks like it’s only one year old. It’s half the weight it should be at this age, only about 12 to 15 kilos. Once it arrives at Fishcross, it’ll be fully assessed to make sure it’s OK.
“The seal has a yellow tag so we know it has been rescued before, and now the office staff are working to find out the backstory and where the pup has come from.”
The staff later discovered that the seal pup had come from RSPCA East Winch which is more than 500 miles from Cruden Bay. It had been released on January 18, 2021 weighing 40kg so its weight had reduced drastically.
BDMLR specialises in the rescue of marine mammals and responded to 1,788 calls across the UK last year.
Mrs Esson has been a medic for the charity for 18 years, and is also the Aberdeenshire coordinator.
Don’t get too close
She and Ms Simpson said there has been an increase in calls during lockdown and that the mammals are often getting caught in old fishing nets and other waste.
There has also been more people disturbing seals on beaches due to a lack of awareness from the public.
Ms Simpson added: “A lot of people see the seals and think they’ll be like pets. They don’t realise that they can really hurt people. If you get bitten at all, you need to go to the hospital to be treated.
“It’s important that people keep their dogs well away from the seals and you can have a look but don’t get too close. They’ll normally just be resting, as seals do spend a lot of time on land, but if they are there for more than 24 hours or have any obvious injuries, you should give us a call.
“We cover all of Aberdeenshire and down the east coast, so anyone who needs to report anything in those areas should contact us. The problem is, a lot of the times, people aren’t sure who is best to call. We are trained to rescue the seals so always get sent out first and then if they’re in a bad way, we can hand them over to the Scottish SPCA.”
Anyone who comes across a stranded seal or dolphin should keep their distance and phone BDMLR for help at any time of day.
The charity offers marine mammal medic courses with training for mammal identification, first aid and rescue techniques for any potential new volunteer medics. They have an upcoming course at Barclay Park Pavilion in Peterhead on July 11 that can be booked online.