Sveppi, an eight-week-old rescue harp seal pup, was stolen two nights ago from the Sheep Farming Museum in Hólmavík, a town in the West Fjords, where he was being cared for, RÚV reports.
Guðbrandur Sverrisson, farmer at Bassastaðir, found the pup in his fields four weeks ago, to where he had crawled from the beach below. Guðbrandur described him as "skeletal and about as wide as a man's forearm," at the time of discovery.
The pup was given the name Sveppi and for the next few weeks he was kept in a tub in the barn at Bassastaðir and fed a mix of mackerel and lumpfish entrails. Sveppi thrived and soon grew too large for the barn, especially as the lambing season began.
The nearby Sheep Farming Museum offered to care for Sveppi until he had learned to survive on his own. Plans were made to move him to a lagoon in the vicinity of the museum once he was big enough, and to keep feeding him until he had learned to hunt for himself.
But yesterday morning when the museum's manager arrived at work, the pup had disappeared from his tank at the museum. It's impossible that the pup could have gotten out on his own, as a net was strung across the tank to protect him from birds of prey, said Guðbrandur.
Sveppi's rescuers suspect that someone took him from the tank intending to release him, thinking that he had been taken as a pet. Guðbrandur is concerned about Sveppi, and doubts he will fare well if released, particularly as he is still so small and nearby beaches are largely populated by much larger harbor seals.
Information about Sveppi's whereabouts should be relayed to the Sheep Farming Museum at [email protected] or by phone (+354 451-3324/+354 661-2009)