• STV
  • MySTV

Stranded seals: Tiny pups rescued from Scotland's shores

Fergus is the latest to be picked up by the Scottish SPCA after journey from the Netherlands.

Fergus the seal pup has been on quite the adventure in the last few weeks.

After being released from a rehab centre in the Netherlands at the start of October, the little seal has journeyed to Scotland, where he was picked up by the Scottish SPCA.

By the time he was in the care of staff at the wildlife centre in Fishcross, he had lost half his body weight and needed immediate help.

To give him a fighting chance of hunting in the wild, the team have been working tirelessly to help feed Fergus and equip him with skills invaluable to his survival.

He is just one of the many rescued seal pups taken in by the centre.

Last year, staff cared for more than 150 pups, the charity's biggest intake yet, with it costing around £500 to treat and release each seal.

Bringing the pups up to a healthy weight is the first priority for staff, with a strict tube feeding regime in place for the smallest of the pups.

The Scottish SPCA says it costs around £500 to treat and release each seal.
The Scottish SPCA says it costs around £500 to treat and release each seal. STV

Assistant manager Jonathan Appleyard says: "All the seals that come in are normally orphaned or injured seals. Because they come in so young, they don't really know how to eat.

"They are the ones that have been left by their mums and some of them have not coped very well.

"In the wild they would get mums' milk up until three weeks but because we can't do anything that is going to be anywhere near the same richness and quality of that, we need to replace it with something."

Boiling down mackerel and mixing it with water, the smallest pups are fed through a tube around four times a day until they get to a point where their teeth and fur are starting to come through.

They gradually introduce the pups to solid fish and teach them how to eat them whole before they are released back into Scotland's waters.

"In the wild, this is a skill they would need to learn," Jonathan says.

"It gives them the steps and basic survival skills to move on and survive in the wild."

He adds: "What we try to remember is that they are scared. They are wild animals - they don't want to be near us.

"Once they get to a weight where they can go outside, they are put into a pool outside and the only interaction they have with humans is when we clean the pool and throw the fish in.

"It keeps them wild. They get back to being with other seals and they just socialise with the other seals."

The centre welcomes donations of towels to help them look after the pups.
The centre welcomes donations of towels to help them look after the pups. STV

Usually, the pups are rescued at the beginning of October but Fergus arrived just before November, which could be due to milder temperatures.

Factors such as storms can also influence the number of seals that end up being rescued.

Jonathan says they could well see record numbers this year, making calls from the public more important than ever.

"What we always advise if you see a seal on the beach is not to approach it because they are quite dangerous and you have got to remember they are a wild animal and they will be scared if someone approaches them," Jonathan says.

"So if you see an animal that looks in distress or injured just call our helpline and they will send someone along to look at it and if it needs to come in they will bring them to us."

If you spot a seal, you can contact the Scottish SPCA on 03000 999 999.

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
ShowHide
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.