A newborn seal pup found washed up on rocks at North Queensferry has been released back into the water after three months in the care of the Scottish SPCA.
The male grey seal pup, named Tiller, was rescued in September after he was spotted by men working on the new Forth Road crossing.
Tiller was just days old, still covered in white fur and weighed a mere 13.5kgs.
After several months of rehabilitation at the Scottish SPCA’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre at Fishcross, near Alloa, Tiller was fully fit and strong enough to return to the wild, weighing in at a very healthy 36kgs.
Assistant Centre Manager Colin Liddell said, “Tiller was our first grey seal pup rescue of the season, and he’s now one of the first to be released back into the water after a very successful period of rehabilitation.
“He was accompanied by another male pup, named Ferry, who came into us at the beginning of November from Uist. He too was only around 13kgs when he first arrived but both pups were great feeders and put on plenty of weight in our care.
“Tiller and Ferry were released at Silver Sands, Aberdour, where we know there are very healthy seal colonies nearby.
“We’re confident both boys will join up with the local colonies and help maintain the grey seal population we have on the east coast of Scotland and around the Forth estuary.”
Colin added, “So far this winter we’ve rescued 53 grey seal pups, which is almost a 40% increase on this time last year, when we’d taken in 38 pups.
“We can’t say for certain what is responsible for the increase but it may be due to the stormy weather we’ve had lately washing pups off their pupping grounds before they’re old enough to enter the water.
“If anyone spots an injured or distressed seal pup on the shore they should the leave it well alone but call our animal helpline for advice and assistance on 03000 999 999.”