Rehabilitation season 2016

On 20 March 2016, the Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Centre admitted its first patient in this season. It was a female grey seal found by local inhabitants on the Gulf of Finland coast near the Okunevaya Bay in the Leningrad Region Vyborgskiy District. The animal was put into an individual isolation ward in the quarantine block. The pup weighed about 30kg and was 8-10 days old.

On the next day, 21 March, two more patients, grey seal pups, were delivered to the Centre. The second patient, a male seal, was found by workers of the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant in Sosnoviy Bor, the Leningrad Region, in the plant area. The 7-10 day old pup weighed 18kg. There were no severe wounds or injuries on the animal’s body, but it was quite debilitated. The third patient was discovered by fishermen on a public beach in Sosnoviy Bor. The animal was brought to Repino and put into an individual isolation ward in the quarantine block.

On 23 March, the first ringed seal (Ladoga subspecies) in the season was brought to the Centre. The new patient’s weight was 4.5kg. The Ladoga ringed seal pup was found by inhabitants of Storozhno community (the Leningrad Region Volkhovskiy District) on Tuesday evening, 22 March. The little seal had covered a big distance from the Ladoga shore, it screamed and called for help. Nadezhda Dazhuntz, the Centre’s friend and helper, brought the pup from Storozhno to Repino having covered 500km.

On the same day of 21 March, a female grey seal was delivered to the Centre. The pup had been found by inhabitants of the village of Sisto-Palkino in the Leningrad Region Lomonosovskiy District. The baby seal had moved far away from water and, looking for shelter, got into a fire pond. The local people noticed it, called the hotline of the Baltic Ringed Seal Friends Fund (699 23 99), consulted the zoologists and took the pup to Repino.

On 25 March, one more little ringed seal (the Ladoga species) was admitted to the Centre. The tiny pup had been found by fishermen on the shore near Sviritsa community (Leningrad Region Volkhovskiy District).  The pup had crawled to the settlement and cried out for help.

On 30 March, the seventh patient, a female grey seal, arrived at the Centre. The pup had been found by inhabitants of Sosnoviy Bor who were walking their dogs along the Gulf of Finland coastline near the city. The baby seal was quite exhausted: its weight was only 13kg instead of the normal 40kg.

On 5 April, two more grey seal cubs were delivered to the Centre. The first animal had been noticed on the ice near Shkiperskiy Protok by passers-by who gave a call to the Centre, however, they failed to catch the pup immediately because it vanished after some time. Later on, the same seal pup was noticed at the passenger ship terminal on Vasilievskiy Island. A mooring berth worker called the hotline of the Baltic Ringed Seal Friends Fund (699 23 99), the zoologists contacted the St. Petersburg MES rescue service and the latter took the animal from the ice. “The new patient’s weight is about 14kg, it is a two-week old female grey seal. The animal is suffering from extreme exhaustion and water deprivation and has phlegmons (inflammation of soft tissues) on its belly. The seal is put into the quarantine block and fed with a special formula through a feeding tube every 3-4 hours”, - said the Fund creators, the zoologists Vyacheslav Alexeyev and Elena Andriyevskaya.

The second patient was brought from Molodezhniy community in St. Petersburg Kurortniy District. The builders who were working at a construction site near the Gulf of Finland saw the seal on the shore, called zoologists and, after a consultation, took the animal. There were no severe wounds or injuries on the animal’s body but it was extremely exhausted too.

On 8 April passers-by caught sight of an exhausted grey seal cub on the gulf shore in Repino, quite near the Centre. It was a male grey seal born 3-4 weeks ago that had already gone through a molt.

 In the same evening of 8 April, the Centre received another female Ladoga ringed seal weighing about 7kg; it was approximately 5-7 weeks old. The animal was noticed several times in the Neva near the town of Kirovsk, the Leningrad Region, and was captured in the same area.

 On 10 April, one more Ladoga ringed seal was saved near Lenexpo exhibition complex.  The pup weighs approximately 10kg and has oil stains on its body.

On the same day, the Fund specialists got a message about the location of a Baltic ringed seal, the rarest pinniped species in our region. People on Chernaya Rechka embankment caught sight of a ringed seal floating in water and contacted the zoologists. The Fund Director Vyacheslav Alexeyev started off at once and caught the animal as soon as it got onto the ice. There were no visible wounds or injuries on the cub’s body, however, it could not have started to live on its own because of insufficient weight – 12kg only.

On 11 April, two more ringed seal pups belonging to the Ladoga sub-species were admitted for rehabilitation: one was brought from Motornoye community, Priozerskiy District, while the other patient got to the Centre from Rakhya community, Vsevolozhskiy Region. The pups were extremely exhausted and dehydrated; their sex and exact weight were to be determined by the zoologists.

On 18 April, one more patient, a male grey seal, was brought to the Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Centre located at Vodokanal’s treatment plant in Repino. The cub was in a critical condition: it had a vast wound on its neck and head.

In total, 18 patients: 8 ringed seals (7 – Ladoga, 1 – Baltic sub-species) and 10 grey seals, have been admitted to the Centre since 20 March.

On 21 May, the Baltic ringed seal Little Inger returned to the Gulf of Finland. The Centre specialists can watch the process of its adaptation to natural habitat by means of a satellite transmitter fixed to the animal’s back.

On 6 June, five grey seals: females Palkina, Novikova, Aina and males Repin and Primorsk returned to their natural habitat. The pinnipeds were released into the Gulf of Finland in the Leningrad Region Vyborgskiy District. All “leavers” have put on enough weight to fly the nest, became stronger and detached from humans. Photos of the first leaving event can be viewed here.

On 24 June, an important “leaving event” took place at the Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Centre. The Baltic ringed seal Little Pusa which belongs to the rarest and most vulnerable species of marine mammals in our region, was released to its natural habitat. On 7 July, four Ladoga ringed seals returned to the wild. The leavers were male seals Mekerikke XII and XIII, and female seals – Lesya Vasileostrovskaya and Otrada. Each of the rehabilitated animals weighed about 20kg. The animals were released into Lake Ladoga bay not far from Priozersk.

On 26 July, two more patients of the Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Centre were released into the wild in a quiet place at the Gulf of Finland northern coast. A couple of Baltic grey seals: the female Ekateringofochka and the male Shalyapin, have passed the course of   rehabilitation successfully. Each of them weighs approximately 45kg now.

On 3 August, the female Ladoga ringed seal, Rakhya by name, was released into Lake Ladoga.

That “leaving event” was the fifth in the season 2016. The patient was brought to the Centre from Rakhya community in the Leningrad Region Vsevolozhskiy District on 11 April. According to the zoologists, Rakhia was an exemplary patient of the season. It received help when necessary without any resistance but retained its natural fear of humans. Now the ringed seal is quite well, and its weight has reached a normal value, 18kg.

On 10 August, the female grey seal Okuneva was released into the Gulf of Finland. It was the first patient in the season 2016 brought for rehabilitation in a critical condition, however, the animal recovered despite severe wounds. It was brought to the Centre on 19 March 2016. The haggard seal pup was found by local dwellers on the ice in the Gulf, near the Okunevaya Bay. The cub had a compound jaw fracture and multiple wounds caused, presumably, by collision with ice.

On 26 August, one of the last Centre patients, the grey seal cow Laeska, returned to its natural habitat. It had been brought for rehabilitation from Sosnoviy Bor on 21 March. Fishermen caught sight of an exhausted seal pup on a public beach near the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant. Traditionally, the saved animal was named after the place where it had been found. Before the release the female seal’s weight was 37kg, and it has every chance to start life in the wild in the Leningrad Region Viborgskiy District.

The male Baltic grey seal Atom hardly responded to medical treatment. Therefore, its rehabilitation course was longer than usual, and the pup was the last to be released into the gulf in this season – on 29 September.

Currently, the male Ladoga ringed seal Nanomekerikke (alias Kroshik) alone is staying at the Centre. The zoologists wanted to release Kroshik into Lake Ladoga on 30 August, however, the cub returned to the people after having a short swim. The zoologists decided to keep the animal at the Centre for another year: Kroshik should learn to live in natural environment and grow wild in this period.