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Paradise by the dashboard right for Smartie the Seal

Published on 28 January 2013

A seal pup which escaped stormy weather to spend time in a car is getting used to water again.

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The six-week-old male, named Smartie, was spotted by workers in the car park of Cairnryan ferry terminal in Dumfries and Galloway on Thursday January 17.

They tried to encourage the animal to return to the sea but it refused. One of the workers then picked him up and put him in the boot of his car to keep the pup warm.

They called the SSPCA and when officers arrived they found that the pup forced one of the back seats down and made his way to lie on the dashboard of the car.

Rescue officer Alistair Hill said: "The weather in the area was particularly bad last week, with winds of 50 to 60mph and very stormy seas.

"The seal pup had made its way into the lorry park via a steep, man-made banking. It would have taken a lot of effort for him to get up there and he had no intention of returning to the choppy waters.

"Normally we'd ask people to leave seals alone until we arrive but there was a risk he could have been injured in the busy lorry park so a member of staff put him in their car until I got there. However, the seal managed to escape from the boot by pushing down one of the rear seats and wriggling up onto the dashboard.

"He is clearly a very smart seal as he ended up watching the storm out the windscreen of the car from his warm, dry spot on the dash."

Smartie is now recovering at the SSPCA's National Wildlife Rescue Centre near Alloa and is said to be getting used to water again.

Centre manager Colin Seddon said: "Smartie was weak and dehydrated when he first arrived but he's now doing really well in our care and already feeding himself. He's currently housed in an individual seal pen which has a wet and dry area for him.

"As he grows in strength and size we'll move him to one of our outdoor pools where he'll interact with other seals and get used to swimming and feeding in the deeper water.

"We hope to return Smartie to the wild in about a month's time, but only when we're sure he's fully fit and able to fend for himself."

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