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Seal Rescue

The Scottish SEA LIFE Sanctuary, Oban have a busy seal rescue and rehabilitation programme in place.

How We Rehabilitate Seals

Some seals arrive at the Sanctuary in a very sick and injured condition and in some cases close to death. The dedicated Animal Care team will often work throughout the night alongside Veterinary staff to do everything possible to stabilise the seal’s condition. For the team, the daily routine begins each morning, often before sunrise. The pups are checked one by one, with the weakest and sickest being tended to first.

Each pup has its own programme of treatment and prescribed medication, which has to be administered every day. It may have a blood sample taken to check if infections are under control and its temperature is closely monitored to ensure the stability of its condition.

When the pup first arrives it is fed every four hours, including through the night. Gradually, as its condition stabilises and it gets stronger, the frequency of the feeds decrease over an agreed period. If the pup is less than three weeks old (a white pup), it will be fed with liquidised fish and a mixture of glucose and electrolyte solution, which has the texture of a thick milkshake and is the closest we can get to its mother’s milk. As well as containing vitamins and minerals, it is rich in protein and will either be fed by bottle or directly into the pup’s stomach via a tube. On reaching three weeks old, the pup is gradually weaned on to whole fish. Often at this stage it has to be force fed, but eventually it associates the fish being offered as the food it calls out for. 
When the young pup reaches the target weight of about 30 kilograms and is free from any wounds or infection, it is considered well on the road to recovery and its time in the hospital is nearly over. It will now be moved to an outdoor nursery pool to gain further body weight and strength needed to ensure its safety when finally returned to the sea. Before being moved however, a small identification tag is attached to its rear flipper, right for a girl, left for a boy.

What To Do If You Find A Seal

1. Do KEEP YOUR DISTANCE

If the pup has a fluffy white coat, it still needs its mother. She has probably spotted you long before you have spotted her and she will be watching from a safe distance out at sea. She will only return to feed her pup when she thinks that it is safe to do so. Watch the pup from a safe distance and ask others in the area to keep well away.

2. DON'T ATTEMPT TO HANDLE THE PUP

It is a wild animal, may bite and can carry infectious diseases. If the pup is handled whilst still being nursed by its mother, the scent which you leave may cause her to reject it. A pup should only be moved if it appears to be in danger from dogs, people, stormy seas or if an expert has advised you to do so.

3. DON'T ATTEMPT TO PUT THE PUP IN THE SEA

It may be out of the water for a good reason.

4. DON'T IGNORE THE SITUATION

If the pup is thin, injured or seems unwell (noisy breathing, coughing, running nose) it probably needs help.

5. DO TELL AN APPROPRIATE ORGANISATION

Telephone the Scottish SEA LIFE Sanctuary on 01631 720386 or your nearest SSPCA officer on 03000 999 999.

Did you know?

It costs around £2,000 to rescue, rehabilitate and release 1 seal pup

We go out and rescue seals, bring them to the Seal Hospital for treatment then release them back into the wild. Without this help many seals would die or be left too unwell to survive.

Did You Know?

We release seal pups based on their weight rather than age or any other factor.

Did you know?

It costs around £2,000 to rescue, rehabilitate and release 1 seal pup

Did you know?

It costs around £2,000 to rescue, rehabilitate and release 1 seal pup

We go out and rescue seals, bring them to the Seal Hospital for treatment then release them back into the wild. Without this help many seals would die or be left too unwell to survive.

We go out and rescue seals, bring them to the Seal Hospital for treatment then release them back into the wild. Without this help many seals would die or be left too unwell to survive.

Did You Know?

We release seal pups based on their weight rather than age or any other factor.

Did You Know?

We release seal pups based on their weight rather than age or any other factor.