Thank You For Adopting Saimaa Ringed Seal And Supporting Him Through Rehab!
Meet Saimaa Ringed Seal!
Our little Saimaa is a male grey seal pup who was found in Glosh Co. Mayo.
Saimaa had been orphaned and was underweight, dehydrated and unwell when he was found.
He had some minor cuts and was bleeding from the mouth.
Welcome to SRI Saimaa Ringed Seal
Upon arrival, Saimaa had a full admit exam to determine his condition.
He was underweight at just 14.02kg. He was likely about 4-6 weeks old.
Saimaa would not have had the fat reserves to sustain himself while learning how to eat fish on his own.
He had a moist nose, eyes and mucous membranes indicating that he wasn’t dehydrated.
What are Saimaa Ringed Seals?
The Saimaa Ringed Seal are a subspecies of ringed seal.
They are among the most endangered seals in the world, with their total population at only around 400 Saimaa Ringed Seals.
An adult Saimaa ringed seal is between 85 and 160 centimetres (2.79 and 5.25 ft) in length and weighs between 50 and 90 kilograms (110 and 200 lb) with the males usually being larger than females.
They have lived in complete isolation from other ringed seal species for around 9,500 years and have diverged into morphologically and ecologically different subspecies of ringed seal.
Saimaa Ringed Seal was tube fed an electrolyte solution at first, to make sure he was well hydrated and that his digestive system was functioning properly.
Saimaa was then transitioned to fish soup, a nutritious blend of herring, salmon oil, and electrolytes.
We’ve been treating his abrasions and they’re slowly healing.
Saimaa is waiting for his tub to fill up here so we can do a fish school lesson with him.
Each kennel is fitted with a bath that we use for a number of reasons like fish school, free feeding, enrichments and it is actually also a good place for the pups to build up some strength as they can work on getting themselves in and out.
The dark wet circles around Saimaa’s eyes might make it seem like he’s just dipped his head in a bucket of water, but those eye rings are actually a sign of a healthy seal!
Known as ‘specs’, the wetness around a seal’s eyes is an indication of how hydrated they are. Seals don’t have tear ducts as humans do so instead moisture surrounds the whole eye.
As saltwater is a bit too salty to drink, seals get all of their hydration from the food they eat. So if you ever see a seal with dry, crispy eyes, it probably means they haven’t eaten for a few days and you should give our rescue hotline a call!
Grey Seals Free Feeding
Grey seals tend to catch on a lot quicker than common pups when it comes to eating by themselves and the reason for this is because of their natural instincts and also how they are raised in the wild. Common pups can spend as long as 2-3 months swimming alongside their mammas learning everything from her in relation to surviving and hunting, whereas grey pups only spend the first 2-3 weeks with their mam’s while they shed their lanugo coat. Once their coat is shed, mamma will not return to feed her pup and once hunger kicks in the pups natural instincts kick in and they know they need to enter the sea to hunt.
As you might have guessed, seals can be very messy animals particularly when they’re only pups. Saimaa doesn’t mind us coming in to give the kennel a deep clean and he even pops his head out to see what’s going on, curious boy. We give each kennel a deep clean every morning using a disinfectant called Safe4 which is safe for animals. Each kennel has a hose that we use to wet everywhere, then we use a brush to distribute the Safe4 which is diluted in a black bucket that we also take inside. The kennels are cleaned out pretty much all throughout the day but the morning clean is definitely the most thorough. Here is Saimaa (left) pictured with his next-door neighbour Lapwing (right) after their kennel was scrubbed.
Saimaa Ringed Seal Moves To Nursery Pool
Saimaa Ringed Seal has been making great progress and since he is up to a healthy weight and able to eat fish himself we have decided that it is time for him to move from their kennel to the pools! We have 4 pools on-site which are 1) Nursery, 2) Physio, 3) Rock and 4) Pre-Release. Nursery is the first pool where we start off the pups as it is a lot smaller and shallower than the others so we can ease the pups into a bigger space, building up their swimming muscles and getting them used to be around other seals. The pools are also a great place for our pups to start practising their competition and social skills, as fish definitely won’t just be thrown to them in the wild and other seals will be trying to get their first!
Check back soon for new photos and videos!
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