A seal pup rescued from a Moray beach had to be put down after vets realised its injuries were worse than initially feared.
When the poorly animal was discovered at Findhorn Bay, a marine medic said he was confident that it “could definitely be saved”.
The distressed mammal had been carried from the west beach to a safe spot by a local member of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDLMR) group, but its condition than started to deteriorate.
When vets arrived from Inverness, they decided that euthanising the seal was the humane thing to do.
The pup was believed to be between a month and six weeks old, and was suffering from internal injuries.
The ailing animal was reported to the Scottish SPCA by local nature enthusiast Madeleine Aguirre, who spotted it while walking along the bay with her three-year-old son Jacob.
Yesterday, she said news of the seal’s death had not come as a surprise to her.
She added: “When we came across it on the beach I thought the seal looked very unwell, it had a lot of fresh blood around its mouth which I took for a sign of internal bleeding.
“I think other people had seen it earlier and thought it was ok, because it was moving about.
“I was surprised when medics later told me it would survive, and was only exhausted, because it looked in a bad way.
“I’m a big fan of the nature around Findhorn, and that is something Jacob is developing too.”
Experts believe the pup became separated from its mother, and could have spent as long as 16 hours stranded on the beach before being reported.