British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (photo: Steve Marsh)
British Divers Marine Rescue


2007-07-27 15:58:43

Seal pup call-out, Primrose Valley, North Yorkshire

Got a call from Sue White at HQ just before 3:50pm a report of a small seal looking ill on the beach at Primrose valley. Reported in by a lady called Kay.

The weather was kind, it was warm and dry with a breeze blowing from the north west and the sea was calm, tide had just topped out and was ebbing.

On arrival Ispoke to some people just at the bottom of the cliff steps to find out if anyone had seen anything, and was told that some kids had been prodding a small seal and were asked to leave it alone by a guy who then did his best to put it back in the water. After some effort he had managed to get it to go back into the sea, and it was seen swimming south towards Hunmanby gap.

So I set off to walk down to the gap, I had walked for about 500 yards when a woman called Helen approached me and asked if Iwas looking for a seal, I told her I was and she said that her and another woman had been baby sitting it.

When I walked to where the other woman was sitting I could hardly believe it, there in the middle of these two women, a black Labrador dog and a small person in a pushchair was my baby common seal pup. Asleep!

Helen told me they had been guarding it from other people because it was getting a lot of attention and it didn't look well.

I have to say a very big thank you to Helen and her friend for doing what seemed right to them at the time, but my big concern now was had the pup's mum been trying to find it and had she been scared off, I did a scan of the water and spotted her almost straight away, I then explained to the two women that we should move away and told them why. We moved back to a safe distance and I had a look through binoculars to find mum again, by now she was swimming north back towards where the pup had come from some time before, the two ladies went off but not before giving me a contact number so I could let them know how things turned out.

I sat with the pup in view for about three and a half hours all told, I contacted HQ to let them know what was going on and in the mean time another report had come in from someone to HQ to say a seal was on the beach near Hunmanby gap (that'll be me then) same seal I was thinking and as far as I could tell it was, people were coming by and I asked them if they had seen anything, all with negative results, so that was good news. As people passed I asked them to keep a good distance away from the pup who seemed to sleep through it all, one family consisting of dad, an older daughter and a delightful little girl (who I promised I would give a mention to in my report) called REBECCA MORRIS (there I told you I would) came past and wanted to know all about it and what was going to happen to it.

They had been to Sealife the day before and knew to keep away and not disturb it. When the people had gone, I saw the mother who had come up onto the beach way north of me and was getting some unwanted attention from people on the beach to the point where she made a dash for the water.

I rang Bev for advice as to what to do as the pup had by now woken up and was looking to go back into the sea, but the tide had gone down and left it with a long haul for such a little seal.

From setting off to getting back into the water it took over an hour, it would go so far and then stop for a little rest it looked to go back to sleep at least twice. The problem is that when it stopped the tide kept going out and the distance grew again.

By the time it made it back into the water there had been no sign of mum for over an hour, there were no visible injuries to the pup and once in the water seemed to swim strongly, I stayed with it for as long as it stayed in view and then for a while after to make sure it had not come out further along.

After no sighting for about 30 mins I phoned Bev to report in and she said she was on her way to Cobble landing to bring me her seal bag and kennel just in case it was needed while they were up in Sunderland for the weekend.

I got back to Cobble landing and showed them the photos and had a coffee and a natter about the following weekend and our stand at the lifeboat day.

Bev had asked me and Vicky if we would do a follow up visit the next day and we of course said yes.

Then back home to see if my wife and dog still knew who I was.

Re Follow up visit

The follow up visit has taken place today 28th July 2007.

Both Vicky and myself have made a visit to the area where the pup was yesterday and along the beach in general and I'm happy to report no sightings were made of any seals, which is just as well because the beaches were busy today.

We also had a walk out onto the Brigg to put up a new Stranding poster and also check the emergency phone while we were there.

Many thanks to the members of the public who reported this seal.

Bruce Pawson
Filey MMM