Seal pup from Scotland who turned up at Bristol pub showing signs of recovery

  • Watch: Nacho recovering at the RSPCA Centre in West Hatch


A seal pup who travelled 300 miles from Scotland to a Bristol pub is showing "positive signs of recovery", the RSPCA has said.

The six-month-old seal, nicknamed Nacho, showed up at The Old Lock and Weir pub in Hanham on January 2 - much to the surprise of staff and punters.

They called the British Divers Marine Life Rescue charity, who transported the pup to the RSPCA rescue centre at West Hatch in Taunton.

He had been released in Scotland in November when he weighted 33kg - but was found in Bristol malnourished and underweight, having lost around half his body weight on his journey south.

Nacho outside the Old Lock and Weir in Hanham. Credit: BPM Media/Bristol Live

Nacho is a common seal and has some puncture wounds on his hind flippers, so is being treated with antibiotics.

However, after a few weeks of care at the RSPCA Centre in West Hatch, Somerset, Nacho is showing positive signs of recovery.

A spokesperson at the RSPCA Centre in West Hatch said: "He is still in the indoor care section at West Hatch but is now on 800g of fish per feed and at the end of last week he weighed 16.4kg, which is up from the 14 kg on his admission, which is really positive.

"Once he has put on a little more weight he will be moved outside to one of the pools, and then once he reaches 35kg+ he will be released."

Earlier this month, Paul Oaten, Wildlife Supervisor at West Hatch said: “It’s certainly unusual for a seal to turn up at a pub like Nacho did.

"The River Avon runs from the coast all the way along through Keynsham where the pub is situated at the water’s edge, so it’s likely he found his way there swimming upstream from the coast.

The pup had an identification tag on his fin, meaning experts could find out more about where he'd come from.

Paul added: “It seems Nacho was taken into the care of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) in the summer as a very young pup, and he was released into the wild on 9 November at a good healthy weight of 33kg.

Nacho boxed off to keep him safe while in Bristol. Credit: BPM Media/Bristol Live

"Sadly now, Nacho weighs just 14kg, so during the last couple of months not only has he travelled some 300 miles from Scotland, he’s also lost more than half of his body weight.

"We’re hoping Nacho will make a good recovery with time, care and plenty of food so that if we are able to build him up to a healthy weight again we can release him into the wild once more and hopefully he’ll keep himself healthy."

Nacho will be initially looked after in the centre's intensive care pens before being moved into another pool where he can gain weight and begin self-feeding as the centre gets ready for his release.