Monday, 31 May 2010

Nemo Johnson's progress

Three weeks since he arrived Nemo Johnson the premature common seal is still hanging on in amazing wee creature.

Nemo Johnson arrived on 8 May and a week later the boys who found and named him, Greg Tulloch and Paul Forrest, came to visit him for the first time. You can read their story on Shetland News - "Nemo Johnson the premature pup" on 18 May 2010.

Since then he has started to moult. Common seals should do this in the womb before they are born, and as he is still moulting it looks like he was born around one month early.

Here he is on 23 May after he'd just started his moult.

Here he is on 27 May...

...and here he is again on 31 May.

His main problem has been digestion because a) he's premature; b) he's not getting his mother's milk - although he is getting Multi Milk made in North America especially for marine mammals; and c) he's moulting. Normally when seals moult they go off their food and we're having to keep feeding him to make sure he keeps up a decent weight.

Along with the Multi Milk he gets rehydration fluid full of vitamins and minerals. Feeds are five times a day. Small pieces of fish will be introduced in a few weeks when his teeth will all be through and his digestive system is ready.

Feeding time isn't a pleasure for him or us either as we have to tube the food down his throat. At one point his throat got quite sore so we invested in some Aloe Vera gel, which has improved feeding time greatly. Although still not pleasant it's keeping him alive. Not the best way to start out in life, but he seems to want to stay with far, so good.

"Not quite as good as mum!"
...meanwhile life at the wildlife sanctuary is beginning to get busier, especially in the gardens.
We open in the afternoon from 7 June between 2pm to 6pm, but please phone before you come on 01806 503348. Da Bod is open to sit in and relax. There will be tea and coffee and biscuits.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

...finally we are blogging. Here's an update:

On Boxing Day a baby otter arrived from Yell. She was no more than two months old and very poorly. The people that found her on Yell named her Peerie Mary. Since then she has gone from strength to strength and is now in an outside pen eating five haddock a night. She stays in hiding all day and only comes out after dark, so all we see of her is the remains of her dinner. We are hoping to release her in the not too distant future. She's such an elusive creature even in captivity that we don't have any pictures of her in her outdoor pen, but there are pictures from when we picked her up on the website

Then last weekend we got quite a surprise when we received a very, very premature common seal. He was the smallest and earliest seal we have ever received. Commons seals moult in the womb. After a week with us there is still no sign of him moulting! He must be at least three weeks early, because the commons are usually born at the beginning of June. So it's intensive care day and night, but what a little character!

He was very lucky to be found by two young boys who have named him Nemo Johnson. They took him straight to the vet at Bixter who contacted us.

We're feeding NJ a special milk formula for marine mammals from America and at the moment he is thriving, but we're not out of the woods yet. These creatures are delicate at the best of times, but more so when they're premature.

The wildlife sanctuary is going to be open most afternoons from June to September. Please give us a ring before you come. Da Bod will also be open to come and sit before the peat fire and just be - relax, read a book and soak up the atmosphere. Tea, coffee and biscuits are available - no charge (donations gratefully received).

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Our very first blog

We have decided to start a blog about the wildlife sanctuary to try and keep up with all the enquiries we have been receiving of late. Fingers crossed... this is a big step into the unknown!