Rehabilitation Centre’s patients in 2013

The first ward, a ringed seal pup, was found on the ice of Lake Ladoga on 29 March. Snowmobile riders noticed a flock of crows. The birds were pecking at a little ringed seal that could not get away to escape. The holiday-makers called the Centre. The pup was in a poor condition: starved, leukoma of one eye, wounds inflicted by the crows. The animal was sneezing and had a temperature.

Mekkerike III stayed at the Pinnipedian Rehabilitation Centre for two months and recovered completely having put on over 10kg of weight. On the day of discharge, it weighed 20.5kg. On 30 May it was released into Lake Ladoga near Holy Island in the Valaam Achipelago.

Grey seal pup Hally

In the night of 11 April, the crew of the tug boat Sadko found a female seal in the Luga Bay. The sailors caught sight of the pup lying on the ice, picked it up and got in touch with specialists. The seal was 75 % underweight, 10kg only instead of normal 40kg. It had a severe dislocation of its front left flapper.

By the time of discharge, Hally’s weight has been nearly 41kg. It was released in Kurgalskiy wildlife reserve on 13 June.

Grey seal pup Visty

Again, in the night of 11 April, a male grey seal (Visty) reached a local community having crept away from waterfront over a distance of one kilometer. It was found by Dmitriy Titov, dweller of Vistino settlement. The Centre specialists evaluated the animal’s health condition over the phone and set off to take it. The seal was starved, its weight was only ten kilograms.

After a successful rehabilitation course the seal was released in Kurgalskiy wildlife reserve on 13 June. At the time of discharge, its weight was nearly 45kg.

Ringed seal pup Mekkerike IV

On 2 May, 4.00 a.m., the people strolling near Kantemirovskiy Bridge caught sight of a ringed seal on an ice floe flowing down the Neva. They called the hotline of the Marine Mammal Rehabilitation Centre. The frightened animal hurried to leave the place where it had been found. The specialists had to figure out the animal’s route, and they set off on its trail. By the morning of 4 May, the exhausted ringed seal has reached the shore near the motor boat stand in the vicinity of the 300th Anniversary of St. Petersburg Park. The specialists got it there. The male ringed seal was about three months old. Mekkerike IV was quite emaciated, the zoologists made a very guarded prognosis regarding its fate. The pup’s weight was 5.7kg only. Such body mass would be normal for a newborn seal but not for a youngster. Moreover, it had a temperature.

It has fully recovered by the end of the rehabilitation period. The seal, one of the last “leavers”, was released into Lake Ladoga on Holy Island in the Valaam Achipelago on 17 July.

Ringed seal pup Mekkerike V

Mekkerike V was found on 29 May on a small shoal between Finlandskiy railway bridge and the Alexander Nevskiy Bridge. It was a tiny pup, a black big-headed softling with huge eyes. Girls who were roller-skating in the area noticed a sort of a giant fish on a shoal, - it turned out to be a ringed seal. They called Rosprirodnadzor and the Emergency Rescue Service. The latter gave them the phone number of Vyacheslav Alexeyev, Manager of the Pinnipedian Rehabilitation Centre. By the time he could arrive, the girls have been waiting for about an hour and a half standing beside the animal. Two young guys passing by joined them in the meantime. Later, their help proved to be very useful. There is no slope to descend to the shore in that area and Vyacheslav had to climb down the rope to get the seal. The guys were holding the rope. The ringed seal did not offer any resistance. Vyacheslav gave first aid to the pup and took it to the rehabilitation centre.

Mekkerike V was the most complex patient of all. In addition to weight deficit, he had a severe bruise on its face and problems with pancreas; later, seal lice were diagnosed. 

The animal has fully recovered by the end of the rehabilitation period. It was released into Lake Ladoga on Holy Island in the Valaam Achipelago on 17 July.