BDMLR Western Isles : Marine Mammal Medics
The Western Isles branch of the BDMLR has been active since September 2005 as a small group of trained volunteers - Marine Mammal Medics - and have attended a number of call outs to stranded whales, dolphins, porpoises and abandoned seal pups.
We have been trained in how to assess whether seal pups are in need of treatment and how to safely approach and catch them, after which they are transported to the seal Hospital in Ullapool where the pups are treated and returned to the wild once healthy.
We have also been trained in how to assess stranded cetaceans and how to safely refloat them if viable, and how to keep them comfortable regardless. We are available to attend any marine mammal in need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we have equipment based in Stornoway (e.g. inflatable pontoons and stretchers) to assist with rescues as and when they occur.
We would very much like to increase our numbers of active volunteers in the islands, especially in Harris and the Southern Isles, and run training courses. As it involves a couple of hours in the sea we wait until the weather is a bit warmer. Although you do not have to be a diver, nor have any experience in diving, to take part you will need to have a wetsuit, at least, and ideally a drysuit. The training takes a full day, involving a lecture in the morning and practical in the afternoon, and costs approximately £70 which includes training costs, hire of life jacket, one year's membership to BDMLR, third party insurance and various other goodies. Once trained as a Marine Mammal Medic there will be further opportunities in training. Some of which may include seal pup first aid and care, whale disentanglement and possibly powerboat handling.
The course is highly enjoyable as well as informative and as a trained medic you will only need to attend any call outs that you have the time for and feel fit enough to do. Many of the call outs are quite leisurely and relaxing, while others can be quite strenuous - involving the lifting and carrying of 15+ kilo seal pups and numerous buckets of water. The course is open to anyone 16 years and over and both men and women are welcome.
For more details about becoming a Marine Mammal Medic please contact Julie: