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Rare ringed seal pup usually found in arctic waters rescued after being spotted at Cove Bay

The Scottish SPCA is caring for a ringed seal which is a species normally found in Arctic waters.
The Scottish SPCA is caring for a ringed seal which is a species normally found in Arctic waters.

A rare ringed seal pup is being cared for by the Scottish SPCA after venturing into unusual waters.

Members of British Marine Life Rescue spotted the young male seal pup at Cove Bay Harbour in Aberdeen almost three weeks ago.

Lethargic and with abrasions, keepers at Scotland’s leading animal welfare charity took in the orphaned seal, believing he was a common seal pup.

However, before long keepers discovered the young creature was in fact a ringed seal.

Ringed seals are much smaller than common seals which is why he was misidentified as a pup.

Their species are commonly found in arctic waters, venturing as far south as Greenland and Norway.

The young seal pup was discovered at Cove Bay Harbour almost three weeks ago.

‘Its very unusual’

Sian Belcher, wildlife assistant thinks the young seal simply got separated from its mother whilst searching for food along the coast.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

Road to recovery

Named Hispi, the pup is said to be recovering well ahead of his return to the wild next month.

Named Hispi, the seal pup is said to be doing well at the Society’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre.

Plans are now underway to build his strength before returning him to the wild next month.

She added: “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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