End of An Era As SEA LIFE
Mourns Loss of Oldest Resident
The last survivor of a famous threesome has passed away...marking the end of an era for the Scottish SEA LIFE Sanctuary at Oban.

Common seal Lorne - long time companion of recently deceased females Blondie and Gigha - has died aged 25.

The Sanctuary has now lost all three of its oldest and best known residents in quick succession.
"Like Blondie and Gigha, Lorne was like one of the family. Even the newest members of the human team here loved him and will miss him sorely," said Manager Alex Blackman.

The three seals had simply reached the end of their natural lifespan, but thought it was not unexpected; Lorne's death has hit the Sanctuary team hard.

Lorne's life story is known to hundreds of thousands of people who have heard it relayed while watching the seals being fed at the Barcaldine attraction.

Bondie and Gigha were already settled in when Sanctuary staff received a call to go to the aid of a seal pup being cared for a by a family who had found him - seemingly abandoned - on the east coast.

"They had been feeding him a potentially lethal cocktail of sardines and condensed milk," recalls former boss Grant Stenhouse, now a key development executive with parent company Merlin Entertainments.

"Luckily we got to him in time and he soon began to flourish on the special milk formula we'd devised."

Lorne became a dad for the first time in 1992 when Gigha gave birth to Fingal, and in the years that followed both Gigha and Blondie provided him with several more off-spring.

"Seal rescue was in its infancy when the first pups came here," said Alex. "The care team at that time were taking advice wherever they could get it, but to a large degree were also learning by trial and error.

"They made the understandable mistake of lavishing too heavy a dose of human kindness on Blondie, Gigha and Lorne, unwittingly making them too dependent on their rescuers.

"We can all find some consolation in the knowledge that we've given all three seals the best care we could and I'm sure they were all very content," he added.

Lorne is survived by one-year-old Lora, the daughter delivered last summer by Gigha.

Though she is now an orphan, Lora is not alone, for she was joined a few weeks ago by three-year-old Lily, and the pair have become great playmates.
Issued by The Scottish SEA LIFE Sanctuary
For more details, please contact Alex Blackman 01631 720386
Press Release date: 1st August 2008

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