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Rehab underway for seal normally found in the Arctic

Ringed seal

The Scottish SPCA is caring for a ringed seal which is a species normally found in arctic waters.   

We were alerted to the male seal by the British Divers Marine Life Rescue after he was spotted at Cove Bay Harbour in Aberdeen on 27 August.  

The seal had abrasions on his back and seemed lethargic. He was mistaken for a common seal pup but when he arrived at our National Wildlife Rescue Centre, he was identified as a ringed seal. Ringed seals are much smaller than common seals which is why he was misidentified as a pup.

Sian Belcher, wildlife assistant said: “We were very surprised to have a ringed seal arrive in our care as they are found in arctic waters and can venture as far south as Greenland or Norway so it’s very unusual that he was found in the Aberdeen area.

“As he is so young, probably only around six to eight weeks old, we think his mum may have been searching for food and it brought her to the north of Scotland. She must have then given birth to this wee pup who has now found himself in our care.

“It’s unlikely that she ventured south due to warmer seas caused by global warming as ringed seals need colder water, not warmer.

“It seems that there have only been around 12-30 sightings of ringed seals in the UK over the last 100 years. They are one of the most widespread seals on the planet but concentrated in the arctic area.

Ringed seal Hispi

“We decided to call him Hispi. He wasn’t too underweight when he arrived but is eating well and putting on some weight.

“Hispi is doing well and our team are very excited to have such a rare resident. It doesn’t hurt that he’s impossibly cute.

“He will most likely stay with us in to October and then we will need to get as far north as we possibly can to release him so he can find his way back home.”

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