SSPCA cares for unusual visitor to north-east shores

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

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 2:12 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 2:12 pm
Hispi the ringed seal is not common to these waters

Scotland’s animal welfare charity was alerted to the male seal by the British Divers Marine Life Rescue after he was spotted at Cove Bay Harbour last month.

The seal had abrasions on his back and seemed lethargic.

He was mistaken for a common seal pup but when he arrived at the Society’s 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 told us: “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.

“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.”