Wildlife sanctuary rescues abandoned seal pup found wandering inland

Emerald Pellot

Around the same time every year for the past few years, a common (or harbor) seal has managed to cross paths with Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary. Shetland, U.K. — where the sanctuary is based — is a natural habitat for the animal, and during the last few summer solstices, abandoned baby seals have turned up inland — this year included.

Recently, an island local named Jane Morton discovered Maggie, an abandoned common seal pup, and called Hillswick to complete the rescue.

“She and [her] husband John watched it for some time to see if there was any sign of a mother,” Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary’s Facebook post explained. “But when there was none and the pup started heading inland (a sure sign it needed help) Jane very kindly caught the seal for us.” 

When Maggie was retrieved, she wasn’t ill, but she was very thin. At just a few days old, it would have been impossible for her to survive without her mother to feed and protect her.

“The determined way she sucked her front flipper demonstrated just how hungry she was,” the post said. “We tubed her with rehydration fluid and fish porridge, which obviously came as yet another shock to the system and gave her the hiccups, after which she went into a deep, deep sleep.”

As you’ll see in the video, Maggie is doing quite well thanks to Hillswick. The sanctuary is now home to four common sea pups, two males and two females. Since 1987, the organization has rescued and rehabilitated seals so they can be released back into their habitats.

If you liked this story, check out this endangered sea turtle return to the ocean after rehab.

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