Seal pup brings road to a standstill in north-east

Image source, The arc rescue centre
Image caption,
Police protected the seal and themselves by using road signs

A busy road in Aberdeenshire was brought to a standstill after a seal pup wandered into the path of traffic.

Police were called to the A975, near Newburgh, to attend to the injured seal.

The pup - thought to be four or five weeks old - was discovered by driver Sjoukje Terpstra on the way home from the school run.

She called police who used road signs to protect the distressed animal until rescuers arrived.

Sjoukje told the BBC Scotland News website: "I had dropped my son Rhys at nursery in Newburgh and there were cars flashing their lights at me and waving at me to slow down.

"I wondered what was going on and then I saw something on the road, so I stopped and I thought 'oh my goodness, it's a seal - what am I going to do?'."

Sjoukje drove nearer to the animal and put her hazard lights on to protect the seal from the cars coming behind her.

Image source, Sjoukje Terpstra
Image caption,
Sjoukje discovered the seal pup on her way home from the nursery run

A friend who was also passing, stopped her car on the other side of the road and the pair tried to keep the seal contained.

"At one point it started to move and try to go to the middle of the road," said Sjoukje. "We got a car mat to keep it in, because my friend knew a seal bite would be very bad."

The Scottish SPCA, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, New Arc Animal Rescue Centre, police and Scottish Natural Heritage all responded to the call to help the seal.

One of the first to receive a call was Keith Marley from New Arc.

He said: "When I got there, police had already arrived and I stood guard on the road until the marine teams arrived with their seal bag.

"The police did the right thing - with those big sad eyes people might have wanted to give it a cuddle, but even at that age, seal pups can look after themselves and they would have got a bad bite."

The seal pup was in reasonable health except for some damage to its flippers.

Image source, Sjoukje Terpstra
Image caption,
Rescuers used a special seal bag to move the injured pup

Keith said: "It had a few abrasions on its flippers, probably due to the roughness of the road.

"It managed to travel about three-quarters of a mile away from the water - it probably came up the beach estuary after high tide the night before."

The pup was turned over to the SSPCA and taken to the Fishcross Wildlife Rescue Centre.

There it will be nursed back to health before being released.

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