Blondie, our oldest resident sadly passed away on the 19th of August 2003, just four weeks after giving birth to a healthy pup called Rona.

On Sunday, our local vet was called in to check on Blondie after staff had noticed that she had suddenly become listless, her breathing had become labored and she was shunning her pup, Rona´s attempts to suckle.
Blondie with pup
Blondie was immediately given antibiotics for a suspected infection and a blood sample was taken to help diagnose her condition. Despite her treatment, Blondie continued to deteriorate and she passed away during the night.

Everyone at the Centre is very upset, as Blondie was the first resident seal at the Sanctuary and has been here longer than any of us. She´s been like a member of the family and her death is doubly upsetting so soon after the joyous event of Rona´s birth.

It appears that Blondie has died naturally of old age and having suckled her pup for four weeks had probably taken a bit too much out of her. Blondie was 23 years old which is a very good age for a common seal and about as old as they can reach so having a healthy pup this summer may have been her final role in life.

Blondie´s pup, Rona is doing well and now six weeks old. At this stage in the wild the mother would have stopped feeding it milk and would leave the pup on its own to learn too feed on live fish by itself. If she does not start to eat fish in the outdoor pools then she will have to be moved in the weaning pool to learn to eat her own fish.

Blondie´s long-term companions Lorne (Rona´s father) and Gigha, will be watched carefully over the coming weeks for signs of stress or anxiety at Blondie´s sudden absence.

Blondie will not only be sadly missed by the animal care team but by a great many of our visitors. A lot of them return year after year, and will doubtless be saddened to find that a familiar old favourite is no longer with us.

We will shortly be erecting a memorial and planting an oak tree in the sanctuary grounds to commemorate Blondie´s life, educating and entertaining visitors over the past 23 years.