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Tiny seal pups ferried to Caithness rescue centre after being found at Stornoway Airport on Lewis


By Mike Merritt

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The two seal pups on their way to the Caithness rescue centre. Picture: Donna Hopton
The two seal pups on their way to the Caithness rescue centre. Picture: Donna Hopton

Two tiny abandoned seal pups have been saved and ferried to Caithness in a dramatic 182-mile rescue.

The cute week-old pair were found at Stornoway Airport on the Isle of Lewis on Thursday and then driven to a rehabilitation centre at Brough by Donna Hopton, area co-ordinator of British Divers Marine Life Rescue.

It is rare for a seal to have twins, so it’s likely the female and male are not related.

They were checked over by vets before taken by a CalMac ferry to the mainland and then driven by Donna to the Caithness Seal Rehab and Release Centre in Brough.

Julia Cable, director of operations at BDMLR, said: “It is never certain why premature pups become separated from their mother. Sometimes they are abandoned.

“Both of these were under 10kg and they are doing well so far. It is never quite certain with common seal pups if they will survive as they are not as hardy as grey seals. But we are hopeful these two will.

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“Donna is a real star – she has done three or four of these rescues lately. We hope these two will reach a stage where they can be released back into the wild.”

Thousands of common (harbour) seal pups are born in June and July throughout the UK. They are born well developed without a white coat (lanugo) which is shed in the uterus; unlike grey seal pups who are born with a white coat. Their mothers feed them on a rich milk allowing them to double their birth weight in their first few weeks.

The journey the seal pups took from the Isle of Lewis to the rescue centre at Brough.
The journey the seal pups took from the Isle of Lewis to the rescue centre at Brough.

“However, many end up abandoned and alone for various reasons and without their mother’s milk, and help from a rescue organisation, they will undoubtedly perish,” added Ms Cable.

“As a small charity, we are constantly under financial pressure in order to carry out our lifesaving work. Vet bills and fuel costs run into the tens of thousands of pounds.

“Any donations will pay for the cost of fuel to get our medics to the rescue centre, and also for the cost of the ferry that they travelled on a 182-mile trip – and the medic still needed to get back!”

Donations can be made at: https://bdmlr.org.uk/how-you-can-help/donate


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