Seal Rescue and Rehabilitation in Oban
As part of the Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary, the Seal Rescue Centre in Oban is dedicated to protecting, rescuing and rehabilitating seals in this picturesque region of Scotland. The team at the Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary has a comprehensive programme to respond to the needs of seal pups that have been injured or abandoned. The seal pups are taken to the Seal Rescue Centre where they are nursed back to health, taught to be independent and then, ideally, released back into the sea.
Seals brought into the rescue centre are generally in need of immediate veterinary care, and the team providing that care may work through the night to stabilize the new patient. Each pup has its prescribed programme of treatment and medication, with daily routine tests being conducted. When they first arrive, seal pups are fed every four hours, 24-hours a day. This feeding schedule is adjusted as the seal gains strength and progresses. Pups younger than three weeks are fed a blend of liquidized fish, glucose and electrolytes, with essential vitamins and minerals. This nutritious meal-in-one is either fed by bottle if the pup is strong enough to suckle, or directly into the stomach by a tube. From the age of three weeks, pups are gradually weaned from the liquid blend on to whole fish. In this transition phase they sometimes need to be force fed, but eventually accept the food willingly.
Seal pups will remain in the hospital until they are free from injuries and/or infection, and have reached a weight of around 20 kilograms. At this stage they are moved to a nursery pool outdoors, where they will spend some time gaining strength and more body weight before being tagged on a rear flipper (left for a boy and right for a girl) and released back into the sea.
The main threats to seals along the Scottish coastline – and elsewhere in the world – are gill nets, boat strikes, accidental capture by fisheries, aquaculture nets, litter (both on the beach and in the sea,) and destruction of marine habitats.
Successfully rescuing and rehabilitating one seal pup costs more than £1,500, so fundraising is vital to the continued existence of this operation. If you are in the Oban area,why not include a visit to the Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary to find out first-hand what is being done to rescue and rehabilitate seals, knowing that the price of your ticket will boost much needed funds. To find out how you can ‘Adopt a Seal’ and make a difference, visit the Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary Website.