Premature seal pup on fish soup diet after dramatic beach rescue

Medics monitored the pup to see if its mother would return before staging a rescue.

Premature seal pup rescued by BDMLR after being abandoned on Aberdeenshire beach Angela Long

A seal pup has been rescued after washing up on the beach at St Combs in Aberdeenshire.

Medics from BDMLR (British Divers Marine Life Rescue) found the pup on Thursday, September 28, tucked high up on the beach towards the dunes away from the water.

The team began to monitor the area to establish if the mother was still around, however, despite a couple of adult seals being observed in the water nearby, the mother could not be found.

The pup remained quiet and unresponsive and monitoring continued throughout the night as grey seal mothers are known to sometimes only feed after dusk, especially when there has been some level of disturbance, however there was still no sign of the mother. 

At around 9am the next day, the weather worsened and a decision was made to lift the pup from the beach and take it to the nearest vet, as it had not eaten for 19 hours.

After a full assessment and some life-saving rehydration fluids, the pup was ready to move to the Scottish SPCA National Wildlife Centre for further treatment.

Gray seal pups are typically born weighing around 9-14kg, however the rescue was just 6.75kg and as a result, medics believe it had been born premature.

The pup’s lack of teeth was also an indication of premature birth, as they usually emerge quickly from the gums and a full set can comprise up to 38.

The BDMLR team said: “The first few days in care are critical, but so far the pup is doing well and has already increased 1.25kg on a diet of fish soup.”

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