South Scotland

Cairnryan ferry port seal pup ends up on car dashboard

Smartie the seal
Image caption The seal pup broke out of the car boot and ended up making its way onto the car dashboard

A seal pup has been rescued after being spotted in a busy lorry park at a ferry terminal in south west Scotland.

Workers at the Cairnryan port spotted the six-week-old earlier this month.

Despite their best efforts to encourage it back into the water the pup refused to go and so the Scottish SPCA was called in.

One ferry worker tried to put the animal in the boot of his car to keep it safe - but it broke out and was found on the dashboard.

The pup - which has been named Smartie - was recovered by Scottish SPCA animal rescue officer Alistair Hill.

He said the weather in the area had been "particularly bad" at the time with strong winds and stormy seas.

"The seal pup had made its way into the lorry park via a steep, man-made banking," he said.

"It would have taken a lot of effort for him to get up there and he had no intention of returning to the choppy waters.

"Normally we'd ask people to leave seals alone until we arrive but there was a risk he could have been injured in the busy lorry park so a member of staff put him in their car until I got there."

However, the seal managed to escape from the boot by pushing down one of the rear seats and wriggling up onto the dashboard.

"He is clearly a very smart seal as he ended up watching the storm out the windscreen of the car from his warm, dry spot on the dash," said Mr Hill

The seal is recovering from his adventure at the Scottish SPCA's National Wildlife Rescue Centre near Alloa.

Centre manager Colin Seddon said: "Smartie was weak and dehydrated when he first arrived but he's now doing really well in our care and already feeding himself.

"He's currently housed in an individual seal pen which has a wet and dry area for him.

"As he grows in strength and size we'll move him to one of our outdoor pools where he'll interact with other seals and get used to swimming and feeding in the deeper water."

It is hoped the pup can return to the wild in about a month's time.

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