Submitted by Steve on 13:20, 29th Dec, 2016 | 0

A grey seal pup was found stranded at the high tide mark on Tuesday 27th December at Bonne Nuit Bay.  The JSPCA, who were initially called by a dog walker that morning, made a call for the BDMLR (British Divers Marine Life Rescue) to come and assess the pup.

Donna de Gruchy (British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Channel Isles coordinator) said “The pup was found to be a Grey seal (common on our offshore reefs), with a moulted coat indicating the pup would now be weaned from its mother."

"However the pup was severely underweight, showed a rapid breathing rate, with signs of a respiratory infection and had superficial wounds, so the decision was made to safely lift the pup and take it for further assessment at New Era Veterinary Hospital.”

On inspection at the veterinary hospital the pup was treated for its infection and wounds, weighed in at 14kg and named Royston.

After a night of 4 hourly fluids and treatment by Peter Haworth and Ian Cox and their staff, the seal was stabalized and plans were then put in place to move the seal to the closest rehabilitation unit, this one being at the GSPCA.

Donna contacted Nick Fewster of Blue islands and asked if they were able to assist as they have done previously with transporting a seal to the rehabilitation unit.  They were more than happy to help and plans were put in action.  

Rob Veron, Blue Islands CEO said "We wish Royston a speedy recovery in Guernsey, Blue Islands is only too pleased to assist and we hope that the seal will have soon recovered and be well enough to be released back in to the wild."

The pup was flown out with Blue Islands on Thursday 29th December at 0930 accompanied by Clive Armstrong (BDMLR medic).

The seal pup is now at the GSPCA who were contacted yesterday by the fantastic team in Jersey.

Many of the team at the GSPCA recently attended a BDMLR course which was held at the Animal Shelter in September and have helped 5 grey seal pups back to the wild in the last 5 years.

Geoff George GSPCA Animal Collection Officer and main seal carer said "We met Clive and the seal pup at the airport this morning and transported the young seal back to the Shelter where we have tube fed and placed it in our seal intensive care room."

"The young pup will need around the clock care and to be kept in isolation while we do all we can to help it."

Steve Byrne GSPCA Manager said "This time of year grey seal pups are being born across the Channel Islands and sadly some get separated from their mothers or become very sick or injured."

"If the team in Jersey hadn't have rescued Royston then the poor young animal wouldn't have survived."

"It is extremely early days and with the pup well under half the weight it should be we are doing all we can at the GSPCA."

"We will of course keep everyone up to date with how Royston gets on."

"It's been lovely to meet Clive this morning from BDLMR and the JSPCA and he is currently being shown around the Shelter and seeing the work we do here in Guernsey."

Picture thanks to BDMLR in Jersey.

For advice on what to do if you see a seal pup -

If anyone see's a pup with or without a mum we really do appreciate a call so that we are aware of its location and condition but here is some advice.

A healthy pup looks like a big, stuffed maggot without a neck. However, a thin pup looks sleek (but not bony) and has a visible neck, like a healthy dog.

PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH THE SEAL. They can give a nasty bite, which will become infected by bacteria that live in a seal’s mouths.

Note: Do not allow dogs or other animals to harass a seal.

If a Seal is scared back into the water, it could then be washed out to sea by strong currents and be lost. You should not put a seal pup back in the sea as it may get into difficulty.

If a Seal pup is sick, thin or injured then we would ask you to contact the GSPCA immediately on 01481 257261 day or night

When reporting an injured, sick or abandoned seal to the GSPCA, please make sure you are able to supply the following information:

  • Exact location; nearest town / village
  • Position on the beach, and state of the tide
  • How long you have observed the pup; any disturbance / risk to it; whether the mother has been seen
  • Any wounds / obvious signs of illness
  • Length/colour/condition.

Pictured above is Jethou Bumblebee and Hanois two Grey Seals GSPCA staff rescued and cared for which were released on Jethou April 2013. 

Caution:- Handling of any animal either domestic, wild, dead or alive may be potentially hazardous. Obvious dangers include bites, scratches and general hygiene issues. Common sense should be applied in all instances and, if unsure, seek additional advice or assistance. Personal hygiene should be taken into consideration after handling any animal, whether it’s domestic, wild, dead or alive.

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