I just happened to be in the vets when Jen got a call from the guards – a seal pup, around 5kg in weight, was stranded at the pier by the bay – could someone come help her? Jen works at the Veterinary Clinic, Bantry – she’s also with RAWR, our local TNR group and gets plenty of calls about animals in distress. But the call came during the Clinic’s opening hours and she couldn’t get out for an hour or so … could I pop down and pick up the pup? I certainly could! I grabbed a hospital cage and some blankets from Jen and headed on down.
Garda Anthony Roche was waiting for me at the station, and took me just across the road, down to the bay. The pup was lying, still as death, on the piery-thing beside some boats, but she soon perked up as we approached. Garda Anthony had approached the wee girl before calling Jen, and nearly got his hand bitten off. So we were planning on being careful in our approach!
The Garda took the blankets to try and secure the pup, while I got the cage ready. But SWALK, who turned out to be 17kg in weight (not 5kg!), was having none of it. So we opened the end of the cage in front of the wee furry face (the pup’s, not the Garda’s) and carefully edged her in, while an audience of onlookers made encouraging suggestions (none of which were heard by me because I’d forgotten my hearing aids, lol). She just fit in the cage and no more. I closed the end door carefully, wary of trapping her flippers, and we loaded baby into the van.
Off to the Vet Clinic to wait for Tim O’Leary’s arrival – Tim’s the area vet, based in Ballydehob, and had volunteered his services. SWALK wants to extend her heartfelt thanks, sealed with a loving kiss, to all involved – Garda Anthony Roche was sterling help, as always; Jen is always ready to leap in; and both vets are fantastic when it comes to rescue work – SWALK to ye all!
Note: Never approach an abandoned seal pub, or sick seal, without first approaching Seal Rescue Ireland – see their advice below.
SWALK will probably end up heading off to the Seal Sanctuary, or Seal Rescue Ireland, when she’s recovered from her ordeal, and will hopefully be released back into the wild when she’s well enough. I was sorry to meet her in such distress, but I’m absolutely buzzed at getting so close to, and being able to help, such an amazing mammal. I’ll keep ye posted on her progress!
Advice from Seal Rescue Ireland
If you are out on beaches, keep an eye out for seal pups in distress. Stormy weather and rough seas, human activity by means of boat traffic, as well as people and dogs on beaches, can sometimes frighten away nursing mothers and inadvertently lead to pups being injured or orphaned.
- Do not put the seal in the water. (Injured, sick & newborn pups are on land for a reason)
- Do not disturb them – observe from a distance.
- Do not touch pups (these animals can bite, and human scent may lead to mothers abandoning otherwise healthy pups)
- Keep dogs and children away.
- Contact Seal Rescue Ireland for advice! If the pup is on its own with no mum in sight; obviously injured; or if unsure please ring the Seal Rescue Centre on 087 1955 393.
From the Seal Sanctuary
Remember to report any dead seals you might find to us, we keep the only database of dead seals in the country. Please email us any information. A photo always helps. We need species (if you can), location, date and any visible injury. Thanks!
SWALK’s going to Seal Rescue Ireland tomorrow. They said:
Yes she is heading to us tomorrow. She is a good weight and very bright and feisty but has unfortunately been passing blood in her faeces which is likely down to worms so she is being treated with antibiotics and strong worming treatment. Hopefully she will make a quick recovery and be back at sea in no time.
So fingers and flippers crossed!