ZP Week Eight: Fatalities and Failed Feedings

After saying in my last blog that I hadn’t seen the pox seal or the one with the neck wound (Draal) that was how I started my week. Lucifer is the one with pox and despite the name is incredibly cute and sweet.

He has some bald spots on his nose, which is unrelated to the pox. Today I noticed they have spread all over his back. When he’s not in the water he seems to get very irritated and scratches a lot. The vets are going tomorrow to take photos and try to work out what is going on. He also now has lungworm – for a grey seal, unusual, but not unheard of. Although he still seems well and is eating properly and on his own, I’m worried about him.

There was a grey seal release, which created space to move Draal into a big outdoor pool all to himself. One of the watching visitors asked, “Why is he wearing a collar?”! What an amazing teaching moment…

As incredible as it is to see Draal in his big pool, the bittersweet (but mostly sweet) side of it was that among the grey seal release we bid goodbye to Joline! I wish her only the best.

A grey seal that had had an operation on his broken jaw, Julia, had been moved to Quarantine 11 due to some strange behaviour and facial twitches. I held him in the afternoon while he had an injection and noticed when I cleaned around him that he didn’t seem to have use of his left foreflipper.

When I saw the next morning “zero clean Q11” on the to do list, I pretty much knew what had happened. The necropsy didn’t turn up anything unusual but they have sent off brain samples because they think he had a neurological problem.

The virus outbreak that’s going around has also claimed another two lives – Treipi from Q3 and Succio from Griend 6. We’re all crossing our fingers and toes that those will be the last but there’s no way to tell. The seals in 5-7 that were already in quite good condition before the virus started there seem to be getting over it, but it can all change so quickly. The virus has spread to some more areas and several showers a day is becoming very normal.

On Monday I got to jump (catch) some seals for the first time and held them while Enrique took blood. I also attempted to force feed them but they completely mashed the fish and I failed miserably. Thankfully that’s not unusual and doesn’t mean I’m a complete failure of a seal feeder, or so they tell me anyway. I haven’t gotten to try again yet but I’m sure I will in the next six weeks.

There are lots of volunteers at the moment and so work has gone from being crazily busy to quite a bit of standing around trying to think of something to do. Not my favourite thing and while the fewer seals needing rehab the better, I hope that someone will come up with a way to keep things more active.

One thought on “ZP Week Eight: Fatalities and Failed Feedings”

  1. I had a dog once who refused to eat at times so we used to pretend to eat her food when she wouldn’t – if seals show similar behavioural traits to dogs maybe it’s worth a try – mashed raw fish, yum ?

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