Last year was a frightening time for Charlie, a two week old seal who became separated from his mother as they swam in wild seas off the north east coast of Scotland. Finally he was washed up on the beach at Arbroathand and became stranded.
A local Arbroath artist, John Burness, was out for an early morning walk when he spotted a white ball of fur on the rocks. At first he thought it was a small dog and, as he cautiously approached it, the baby animal growled and then rolled over and waved a small flipper at him. John saw it was actually a distressed baby seal. He immediately phoned the SPCA and stayed with the pup, making sure it was safe and no marauding dogs could attack it.
He described how, while he was waiting for the rescue team to arrive, he began talking to the baby seal, reassuring it that help was on the way and that he’d soon be safe. “That’s when I gave him his name – I decided to call him Charlie ” John said with a huge smile.
The SPCA identified Charlie as a grey seal, his white fluffy fur indicated that he was less than three weeks old because after that the white fur disappears. His mother will have become separated from him and then swum on with the other seals, leaving Charlie behind to fend for himself in the cold waters of the North Sea.
Charlie was gathered up by an SPCA officer and driven off to their headquarters in Clackmannanshire where he was cared for in their wildlife sanctuary. Meanwhile John went back to his pottery studio in Arbroath.
Charlie recovered well despite his ordeal in the treacherous North Sea and was re-united with the other seals who frequent this part of the North east coastline.