News Update for December 2007

Resident Seals

Lorne is definitely having no problem competing against the pups we have in the main pool. In fact he is teaching them exactly how it would be in the wild by stealing their fish! On occasions he does seem to have enough of all the commotion caused by the pups and will retreat to the square pool which is on the most part the quietest. We are sure that Lorne will be glad when the pups start to be released back into the wild as will the team.

With the pups presence in the pool, it is difficult to do any sort of training with the residents although we have discovered that Lorne will willingly jump out of the water for fish but maybe that's because it means he is the centre of attention and he can splash visitors without being told off!

Lora is loving having so many playmates and is not pestering Lorne to play as much. She is often seen chasing around the pool with the other pups and occasionally hitches a piggy back with Jelena.

Training is slow with Lora because of the pups. She is keen to jump up for fish and it is very sweet to see her 'baby jumps'. Lora will also say hello to staff by coming up and putting her nose on their hand. Hopefully when the pups are released back into the wild, we can work with her and Lorne and progress further.

Resident Otter

Fingal has been watched very closely following the death of his sister Sula and he is showing no signs of anxiety. Fingal's energy levels have increased dramatically now that he doesn't have Sula to play with, this means that staff are now running around the enclosure with him to keep him occupied, much to the amusement of visitors. We are currently looking for a replacement mate for Fingal and hopefully we will find him someone soon.

The Common Seal Pups

After a few weeks of taking fish for herself, Jelena has met the target weight of 20kg and has been moved to the main outside pools. She is really enjoying playing with Lorne and the other pups and is steadily putting on the weight she needs to be released once she reaches 30-35kg, our work is done and she can be released back into the wild.

As expected Ellen quickly learned to take fish for herself by copying Jelena, although to begin with she was struggling to compete against her. As soon as Jelena was moved out to the main pools, Ellen had more time to get the fish and has steadily put on weight. She was weighed at 22kg on the 30th November 2007 and was put outside with the other seals. As with all pups, her weight will be monitored and once she reaches 30-35kg, she will be released.

The Grey Seal Pups

There are five grey pups in our care at the moment and we have chosen the theme of Balamory to name them.

Penny (Pocket) arrived at the Sanctuary on the 17th of November 2007 after being found on the ferry slip way at Fionnphort wandering into town. She was all alone and there was no sign of her mother. Penny was transported here with the help of CalMac ferries who transported her from Craignure to Oban where staff were waiting for her. Upon arrival at the Sanctuary, she was examined to see if she had any injuries. She had a quite a few bite marks on her and bad damage to her left eye. She was dehydrated, underweight and malnourished. Penny is approximately 3 weeks old and weighs 9.6kgs and is starting to get better.

Update: Penny is enjoying her swims in the weaning pool and is now taking fish for herself. Her technique could be improved though as she still rips her fish up to eat it. Once she starts to eat them whole and reaches a weight of 20kg, she will be moved onto the next stage of rehabilitation and be moved outside.

Archie was found on a beach on Iona all on his own on the 19th of November 2007, he had been there for 2 days and there was no sign of his mother anywhere. He was transported from Iona to Mull where one of the Sanctuary's Animal Care Team was waiting to collect him and bring him back here. Upon arrival at the Sanctuary he was examined to see if he had any injuries. He had a quite a few bite marks on him, was dehydrated and malnourished. Archie is approximately 3 weeks old and weighs 12.5kg. He can be quite aggressive but most of his frustration is taken out on his towel which he loves to grab a hold of and bite into.

Update: Archie is now in the weaning pool. He is starting to play with fish in the pool but hasn't yet got the hang of eating it in the water. He should learn soon and start taking them without any help. When he does this and reaches a weight of 20kgs he will be moved outside into the main pools.

Spencer (the painter) arrived at the Sanctuary on the 20th of November 2007 after being found in a roadside ditch at Huna. It was obvious from his state that he needed some help. He was picked up by British Divers Marine Life Rescue and they transported him down to us here at the Sanctuary. Upon arrival Spencer was examined and was found to have a few bite marks on him. He was also malnourished and dehydrated. Spencer is approximately 2-3 weeks old and has already lost his white coat. He weighs 14kg and is a very easy pup to look after; he is already taking fish from hand!

Update: Spencer is now the first of our grey seals to be moved into the main pools. He now weighs over 20kg and is learning what it is like to compete against the other pups. At the moment he is still trying to get the hang of this and will often haul out and attempt to climb staff to get their attention for food. Over the next few days he will learn that this is not the way to do it and will start to remain in the pool to get fed.

Suzie (sweet) arrived at the Sanctuary on the 22nd of November 2007 after being found on the Isle of Barra. She had been on the beach for two days with no sign of her mother. Due to the distance from Barra to the Sanctuary, Suzie was transported here with the help of CalMac ferries. Upon arrival she was examined and found to be free from injuries and approximately a week old weighing 13kg. Suzie is still a white coat seal and is just now starting to moult. She is the wiggler of the group and takes two people to feed her. Once she reaches 3 weeks old, she will start to be weaned on to herring.

Update: Suzie has now lost her white coat and is a very pretty little seal. She is still difficult to feed and an aggressive pup, although this makes it harder for us, we consider this a good thing as we don't want her to become friendly to humans. At the moment Suzie is being fed herring and taking swims in the weaning pool. Once she reaches 20kg and takes fish for herself, she can then join the other pups in the main pools.

PC Plum arrived at the Sanctuary on the 30th of November 2007, he was rescued by the British Divers Marine life Rescue and they transported him down to us here at the Sanctuary. Upon arrival at the Sanctuary he was examined to see if he had any injuries. He didn't have any bite marks on him but was dehydrated and malnourished. PC Plum is approximately 3 weeks old and weighs 12.5 kg.

Update: PC Plum has now been weaned on to herring and is taking them by hand. He is a very vocal pup and likes to get attention although as soon as anyone goes into the pen beside him, he growls and tries to attack the towel. He is going for swims in the weaning pool and we are trying to encourage him to take fish for himself. Once he does this and weighs 20kgs, he can be moved outside to the main pools.

As well as these pups, we also had two others in our care, Josie Jump and Edie McCredie who despite our best effort have unfortunately past away. If you like more information on these pups, please feel free to call the Sanctuary.

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