Saturday, 2 July 2011
On the afternoon of the 27th I recieved a call from Audrey, our local SSPCA officer and BDMLR medic that she was going to look at a pup at Golspie. Local medic Andrew Macleod rang as well as a local had reported it to him that afternoon. Both attended and uplifted the pup and Audrey drove it the hour and a half back to the hospital. On arrival we had another extremely thin pup, male, weighing in at 8.4kg and about 5 days old. I thought Harry was a bag of bones but this boy looked worse. He then started the alternate feeds through the night. This lad was called Pee Wee.
While at this point on the night of the 29th all pups are stabilised, receiving medication and are now on a schedule of milk feeds. All pups are progressing well.
Thanks go to Dawna, Dougie and Audrey from the SSPCA, as well as Andrew from Golspie. Also to the guys helping at the hospital, Heather, Alex, Tracey and Boonie.
Having organised to attend the BDMLR mass stranding excercise at Burghead on Sunday the 26th,On the Saturday evening I recieved a phone call from Dawna at the SSPCA to ask if I could take a pup she was about to pick up from Fort William.
She would bring it to the excercise and I would bring it back with me to the hospital.
Dawna arrived with a small female pup that I tubed twice at Burghead before heading home at lunch. I was asked by another SSPCA officer and medic, Dougie, if I could have a quick look at a pup they had been watching near Dornoch, as it was on my way back north, I naturally said yes.
On arrival at Dornoch, I found the spot and there was a small male pup, looking extremely thin. He was placed in the transport box with the other pup and off we set for the hospital.
On arrival at the hospital we had a small female weighing in at 7.4 kilo and being approx 3 days old. she was thin and still had her umbilicus. No injuries.
She was called Lulu.
The pup from Dornach was a extremely thin male weighing in at 7.8, around 4 days old. He was longer than the female but was worryingly thin and hydration fluid was given and milk feeds alternated with the lectade as he needed sustenance as well as fluid as if we had used standard protocol of 24 hour fluid, I am sure he would not have survived the night. This male was called Harry.
On Friday 17th June, Inverness medic John Orr was called to check on a seal pup reported on a beach at Nairn. It was believed to be only a couple of days old and as there were seals nearby we asked John if he could check it again in the early evening, and then eventually Saturday morning, just to be sure mum was not still around.
On Saturday morning it was confirmed that no seals had been near the pup and it was looking a bit thin, based on this the pup was uplifted by John and as we could not find anyone from Inverness to help with transport to the seal hospital John held the pup until Ali Jack arrived in the evening on his way home to Skarfskerry from the BDMLR course at North Berwick.
On arrival at the seal hospital later that evening we found we had a small 8.8 kilo, male common seal around 3 days old. He had no injuries and while being a bit thin he was alert and active.
He recieved hydration fluid for the first few feeds and has since moved onto multimilk.
He has been called Scoot.
On the 19th April we finally released the last of the winter arrivals from the Hospital.
The weather forecast was looking good for the next few days and so Mary, Al, Patch and Larry were given the once over and weighed in the morning once the pool was drained, then loaded into their transport boxes for the short journey to the release site.
As well as Heather, Caleb and myself we were joined by main Hospital volunteer Tracey and son Elliot, Director Mark Stevens with Carolyn, Director and neighbour Ali Jack along with Pam and little ones, SSPCA officer Audrey and a few others. It was quite a welcome crowd compared to last time as it certainly made all the lifting and carrying of each over 40 kilo seal much easier.
Once at the release site their boxes were lined up but Al didnt want to wait and so squeezed half out his box and then with Heather barely managing to keep some sort of control, tipped his box up. The other three were quickly let out to join him and with the exception of Larry all hit the water pretty quickly. Larry wasnt to sure but with a bit of coaxing finally went in. They spent the next half hour or so exploring the harbour and looking for each other.
We left them to get on with it and last seen they were playing in the seaweed.
Now they are finally back where they should be and the task of readying the hospital for the next lot begins.
Highland seal hospital release - Thursday 24th March 2011
After having to abandon plans to release on Wednesday due to high winds, then seeing a good weather window for the next four days it was decided to go ahead and release Moe and Sunny back to the wild.
Moe and Sunny are both local pups and both arrived in November. Moe having been seperated from his mother, undernourished but with no injuries was found near Dunnett head. Sunny was found the otherside of the bay near Castletown Harbour and had been severely affected by toxic piosoning, we presume it was some sort of petroleum product due to the internal burning and blinding of her eyes. Sunny also had multiple deep bites over the rear of her body.
Moe progressed through the rehab stages with flying colours, progressing as expected.
Sunny needed some major care in the early days and we were relieved to save her sight and also to then be able to reduce the scarring on her cornea to the piont it was barely noticable.
The day dawned lovely with the wind greatly reduced from yesterday so after a quick check of the five day forecast it was decided to release today. Yesterday we had several volunteers on hand, Tracey, Boonie and a local vet Jamie, today though as it was very short notice they couldnt make it today so it was just myself, Heather and Caleb.
After draining the pool, it was catch up time and then into the transport boxes for the short trip to the release site.
We were joined by two curious common seal yearlings who were sitting in the middle of the small bay watching the proceedings from start to finish.
Once out of their boxs they both approached things differently. Moe went straight down the slipway and over the edge, swimming from one end of the harbour to the other, no hanging about. Sunny on the other hand was reluctant to head into the water, sitting on the edge and not wanting to be rushed. Eventually she went in and spent the next half hour playing in the seaweed and gradually venturing further afield.
We wish them all the best.
Saturday 5th March was the day for our planned bootsale and soup and sandwich lunch fundraiser. The day dawned bright and sunny and made for a better than average crowd at the sale and we were very busy right from the start!
The hall was very busy and packed full of people looking for a bargain and it seems there were plenty to be had. We had a total of 17 stalls and our own stall, which had lots of lovely stuff donated to us by members of the public, family and friends. The soup and sandwich lunch went down a storm, being busy right from 12 pm onwards. The girls who were serving certainly had a busy day of it but they coped tremendously - I am very proud of them all!
When everything was packed up and cleared away we counted the money to find that we made a grand total of £402! I am sure you will all agree that that is a super amount to raise in a few hours!
I would like to thank everyone who gave up their Saturday to help us, Audrey Gunn and her daughter Laura, Colin Bird, Jim Thompson, Jamie and Heather Dyer, Mandy McIntyre and her Mum Kate, my 2 sons Kyle and Elliot Myers and my friend Laura Gunn who also came along and helped us out. We couldn't have done it without a good team to help so thank you all! It goes to show that with a little planning and a few helpers we can achieve so much. Many thanks to you all again for supporting us with this fundraiser!
BDMLR Caithness Coordinator
On Friday 11th February I received a call from Marion Jack (Ali's mum)saying there was a small pup laying quite still near the slipway at Gills harbour.
I thought I better go and check as Marion has experience with being around the seals and if she is concerned then there is definitely a need to assess. On the way to Gills, Marion phoned to say Michael Salter, one of the hospitals original helpers had lifted the pup and was on his way to the hospital.
On assessment at the hospital we found we had a approximately 8 to 10 week old male grey seal weighing in at a worrying 17.5 kilos. More worrying was the fishing line injury to his neck. This was a deep, fine cut running around his neck, approximately an inch and a half deep at the top and while not cut underneath it was well welted and swollen, and the line was clearly visible. The wound was certainly of great concern on such a small pup, though due to it being recent it didn't explain the pups lack of weight. Initial thoughts were to suspect lungworm debilitation.
Ringo as he is called was cleaned, had his wounds treated, was medicated and rehydrated. He was lively and active though his energy levels were low.
He is now, as of Tuesday making steady progress. The wound is cleaned and debrided nightly and treated to help with granulation of the tissue. He is eating some feeds in shallow water and others that are medicated are being hand/force fed. He is being treated for the now confirmed lungworm burden and is making steady progress.It's early days yet as the wound is very nasty and down to the ligament at the back of the head, though he has full movement of head and flippers so it should be a case of keeping it clean and letting it heal. Pictures were taken on Monday after he was cleaned and stable.
On Saturday 6th November Ollie and Winkie were returned to the wild. Ollie who arrived from Orkney via Ross at Orkney Seal Rescue in July and Winkie who arrived shortly after from Thurso, were fed in the morning as usual and then they had their pool drained. Once drained they were checked over, their tags were double checked and then they were boxed for the drive to the release site. While both these pups arrived at the hospital malnourished and weighing around seven kilos, they were now on their way weighing over 30 kilos each. The release had been delayed and put back for over three weeks due to constantly changing weather conditions though with a good forecast they were now almost there.
Heather, Caleb and myself were joined at the site by HSH volunteer Tracey Myers and her son Elliot, medics Linda, Claire and Natalie from Inverness and SSPCA officer and medic Audrey and her partner Bruce, as well as a few other friends so a big send off for the boys.
The release went smoothly with Winkie swimming out into deeper water straight away to join up with another pup, Ollie meanwhile was a bit reluctant but eventually went out to join Ollie.
A good day for all, I will miss the boys but it’s great to see them back where they belong.
Thanks to everyone for their help.
Late in the evening on Saturday 6th November a small male grey seal arrived at the Highland Seal Hospital. He had endured a long journey after being picked up on Friday evening on the Isle of Lewis by Sandy MacDonald, Kirstie Brown and Ross Spence, and looked after overnight by the ever busy Sandy McDonald. Sandy travelled with him on the Saturday afternoon ferry to Ullapool, where he was driven by Claire Johnston to Simon Eller, who was waiting at Golspie to bring him to us at the Hospital.
On arrival we found we had a small male weighing in at 12.5 kilo. He was very malnourished, covered in bite wounds and showing very poor body condition. He was thoroughly checked, treated, medicated and left to settle in. After fluid therapy he was started on fish late on Sunday and is progressing well. We have named him Larry.
Third in was another male pup from the Western Isles, this time on Uig, not far from where we spent a few days last week with the pilot whales. Picked up by Heather, the ex SSPCA officer on the island, by ferry to Harris and picked up by Sandy once again and driven to Stornaway on Lewis where Sandy cared for it over two nights before getting the first available ferry to Ullapool where local co ordinator Jim Thomson bought it to the Hospital.
Male called Curly weighing in at 12.7kg. Two and a half to three weeks old and very skinny with lots of bite marks and wounds.
Our second arrival was a large male pup picked up near Dunnet Head. This was a hard one as while he had been observed on his own for four days, he had clearly eaten within this time. There was lots of disturbance and with incoming gales and rough seas it was decided to observe for a further 24 hours. Again after seeing no evidence the pup was feeding, and with the weather getting wilder as the tides now had it pinned against the cliff base, it was decided to remove the pup to the hospital.He is called Moe and weighed in at 24kilo and approx one week old
On Sunday 31st October, this small male pup from the Isle of Harris, weighing 14 kilos and around a fortnight old was picked up and transported by Sandy McDonald back to Stornaway overnight before being brought by ferry to Ullapool, then relayed by John Orr from Inverness to the mound where it was picked up by Ali Jack and myself.
The pup, now named Al, had multiple wounds around the base of the flippers/tail and a few cuts and abscesses, he was also very dehydrated.