Oban SEA LIFE staff issued with ear plugs as
Grey Seal Pup 'Chewie' is dubbed noisiest resident ever!
Staff at Oban SEA LIFE Sanctuary have been issued health and safety ear plugs after the surprise arrival of an exceptionally noisy Grey Seal.

Nicknamed 'Chewie' after the famous Star Wars Wookie Chewbacca, the week old pup - the earliest Grey Seal pup the Sanctuary has ever rescued - still has his umbilical cord attached.

But staff have been warned not be fooled by his minuscule size!
The seal pup has been blessed with a bellow that could rival a foghorn, and like most newborns, calls insistently for his mother every two minutes.

Alex explains: "We have had some noisy pups in our time, it goes without saying that any baby separated from its mother will call for her, but this little chap is the noisiest we have ever had in the Sanctuary.

"He may be tiny, but his lungs are incredibly powerful, he sounds just like Chewbacca when he gets going, so we named him after the Star Wars Wookie."

Luckily for the homesick Seal Pup, the SEA LIFE Team has dutifully stepped into the role of mum, including the onerous task of round the clock feeding.

Alex says: "Chewbacca needs to be tube fed every four hours at the moment, but he's so cute there has been no shortage of volunteers to care for him - even on the four a.m. shift.

"We have, however, had to issue ear plugs for the team taking the night shift so they can get some peace and quiet in between feeds. As any Mum will know, night feeding is one of the hardest parts of baby care and it's no different for surrogates!"

Although the Centre had been expecting an influx of Common Seal pups at this time in the season, Chewbacca's arrival in Oban is made even more unusual as he is a Grey Seal.

Alex explains: "Grey Seals are born this time of year elsewhere, but it is an amazing rarity to see one this young at this time of year in Scotland.

"Although the first British Grey Seal pups will be born off the coast around Scillies and Cornwall in August and September, the time of pupping is progressively later as you move clockwise around the British Isles.

Scotland usually sees Grey Seal pups being born off the east coast and the Farne Islands in late December, so Chewbacca is certainly a surprise arrival!"

Chewbacca will move onto fish food next week, and as soon as he is strong enough, he will be moved into an outdoor convalescence pool.

Here, he will need to put on another 40 - 50 kilos before he will be fit for release back into the wild, which could take up to three or four months.

Those wanting to visit Chewbacca during his stay at the Oban SEA LIFE Sanctuary please visit: www.sealsanctuary.co.uk or call 01631 720386 for further information, opening times and tickets.
Issued by The Scottish SEA LIFE Sanctuary
For more details, please contact Alex Blackman on 01631 720386
Press Release date: 7th September 2010