Meet Buttons, the Grey Seal Pup – Seal Rescue Ireland30/07/2014
by Kira Walton
Buttons, our very first adopted seal pup, was admitted to Seal Rescue Ireland on 22nd December 2013 after he was found by a farmer who stumbled upon him in his field surrounded by cows in Co. Mayo.
He was very weak and emaciated and the farmer was extremely concerned as the pup did not move for an entire day. Thankfully he knew something was wrong and rang Seal Rescue Ireland for help and Buttons was rescued.
Caring for Buttons
Buttons was so weak and dehydrated that Ally and her volunteers at Seal Rescue Ireland needed to give him both oral fluids as well as fluids under his skin. Over several days of intensive care he began to respond to fluids. Being a moulted grey pup, they offered him fish, and with a little assistance he began eating. Before long he had the art of flinging fish around and swallowing them whole!
Buttons went through many ups and down during his initial time at the seal rescue centre. He had a nasty chest infection and sadly came down with the worst case of seal pox Seal Rescue have ever witnessed. Seal pox is similar to chicken pox in that it appears as lesions on the skin and there is no cure for it. It is a self-limiting virus that seals get over in their own time and the sanctuary can only provide supportive care.
After many months Buttons began to improve. He was wormed and given a course of antibiotics and was soon feeling much better and gaining weight nicely so he could get on with more important seal things, like swimming!
When Buttons met Jenny
Once stable after his quarantine period, Buttons was introduced into a kennel with another seal who would soon become his best pal, Jenny!
They happily swam in the bath together while they learnt how to eat fish in the water. They soon gained enough blubber to be relocated into the Nursery Pools.
Rehabilitation at Seal Rescue Ireland
The pools are the final stage of the rehabilitation process at the Rescue Centre where seals can socialise with other pups, compete for fish, gain muscle mass through exercise and most importantly have limited human contact to ensure their wariness and to prepare them for life back in the wild.
While in the kennels the pups have regular interactions with the volunteers coming in to clean, feed and administer medications or treatment. In the pools volunteers avoid going in with the seals so that they become wary of people which is imperative for their survival in the ocean.
Buttons is now doing extremely well in the Nursery pools and has settled in with the other pups enjoying play time and hauling out in the sunshine! He is fast approaching his ideal weight of 35kg when he will then be returned to his wild life in the ocean.
You can make a donation or adopt a seal at Seal Rescue Ireland by following the links. Or for now, follow Buttons’ progress on Facebook and Twitter using #PUPdate for regular updates as well as photos and notifications of when he is ready to be released!
Look out for other new additions to the VOYA family!