| Holidaymakers trigger rescue missions|
for seal pups Jamie and Jelena
| Holidaymakers sparked simultaneous seal-rescue dramas 25 miles apart in the West Highlands.
The two rescued common seal pups, a male and a female, have been christened Jamie and Jelena in tribute to Scottish Wimbledon champion Jamie Murray and his doubles partner Jelena Jankovic.
The separate rescues have provided the Scottish SEA LIFE Sanctuary at Oban with its first two seal patients of the summer…one from the Isle of Mull and one from a mere 100 yards from the Sanctuary´s seal hospital.
Sisters Shona and Caroline Bell from East Lothian, found common seal pup Jamie as they walked the nature trail with their parents next to the Sanctuary...just minutes after watching a seal-feeding demonstration.
"It was unbelievable," said the Sanctuary's displays supervisor Tina Houchin.
"We'd just been describing the Sanctuary's rescue work and how seal pups occasionally get separated from their mothers, and within a few minutes they'd found one.
"They spotted tiny Jamie on the rocks on the banks of the loch and raced back to tell me about it. "I knew straight away, just by how skinny he was, that he had lost touch with his mum."
Sanctuary animal care expert Tina Houchin radioed for help and for bite-proof' gloves, and within no time the youngster was safely transferred to the indoor seal hospital where he was tube-fed a special re-hydration fluid.
All of this happened on Wimbledon finals day, just an hour after Sanctuary boss Alex Blackman had taken an anxious call from a couple of holidaymakers, who reported finding a seal pup on the shore of Lochbuie on the Isle of Mull.
When hungry Jelena actually tried to suckle one of the holidaymaker's walking boots the couple decided to try and help her. After taking advice from the SEA LIFE Sanctuary they used an anorak to cover and subdue the seal before putting it into a fishing crate they found nearby. They popped it in the back of their estate car, caught the ferry and delivered Jelena safely into the hands of Sanctuary staff at Oban before heading home.
They now plan to officially adopt Jelena, helping pay for her care and feeding until she returns to the wild.
"Both are now being fed on a healthy diet of malted milk and salmon oil, and have moved from isolation cubicles into a larger indoor pen where visitors can watch discreetly through a large viewing window," said Tina.
"If all goes well they will stay with us for about three months, by which time they should have gained enough weight and built up enough strength to safely resume life in the wild."
Jamie is the first of the hundreds of pups rescued by the Sanctuary to have been found within its own grounds. "Even healthy adult common seals rarely venture this far up the loch, so for a pup to end up here is an exceptional event," said Tina.
"The two rescues are also very early. We don't normally get our first casualties in until the end of the month, and this could be a sign that perhaps global warming is prompted an earlier start to the breeding season."
For more details, Please contact: Alex Blackman on 01631 720386.
Press Release date: 19th July 2007
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