ORANGE SEALS - 26th July 1999

People living on the Isle of Skye have been baffled by the sudden appearance of two freak orange seals on their shoreline.

The brightly coloured mammals have provoked much speculation, but little conclusive evidence as to their origin, identity or how they came to be so orange.

Stuart Whatley, a photographer on the island, said at first the animals looked like two buoys bobbing in the water.

He added:"I have been told all sorts of things. They are staggeringly orange. They are really spectaculary wonderful things, but we don't know quite what they are."

Despite speculation among some islanders that the orange seals could be some bizarre publicity stunt by local hoteliers, Mr Whatley said:"It's absolutely not a hoax. It is very unlikely somebody would have captured two seals."

One theory, expounded by a wildlife expert, Roger Cottis, in the local newspaper, is that they are bearded seals from Lapland that have drifted astray on melted ice flows and ended up off Greshornish Point in the north of the island.

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