Seal normally found in Arctic waters discovered in Scottish harbour

The ringed seal is being cared for by the Scottish SPCA.

Hispi the seal
Hispi the seal

A seal normally found in Arctic waters has been rescued after it was found in a harbour on the outskirts of Aberdeen.

The Scottish SPCA is caring for the male ringed seal which was found looking lethargic and with abrasions on its back at Cove Bay Harbour.

The British Divers Marine Life Rescue alerted Scotland’s animal welfare charity after spotting the creature on August 27.

Ringed seals are smaller than common seals and the mammal was initially mistaken for a common seal pup, but was correctly identified when it arrived at the Scottish SPCA’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre.

It is thought the seal’s mother may have come south searching for food and reached the north of Scotland.

Seal
The seal has been named Hispi (Scottish SPCA/PA)

The charity expects to care for the seal into October and will then need to go as far north as possible for release so it can find its way home.

Scottish SPCA wildlife assistant Sian Belcher 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.”

Staff have named the seal Hispi and it is said to be eating well and putting on some weight.

Ms Belcher said: “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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