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

News

2007-10-17 15:44:54

A Seal Pup with a 'Black Country' Accent?

At about 14.30 Area Co-ordinator Dave Jarvis was contacted by National Co-ordinator Trevor Weeks, who was at Head Office. A call had been received regarding a seal on Wanson Beach, Widemouth Bay, near Bude. Whilst Dave loaded equipment, advised the National Seal Sanctuary at Gweek & collected his wife Lesley & Tim Bain, Trevor mobilised medics Ross Compton & Michelle Robinson to the scene. Upon arrival they discovered a white-coated pup, near the high tide line. Ross called Dave to tell him what had been found & he was asked to monitor the situation, whilst he, Tim & Lesley continued onwards to the beach.

When they arrived they were met by Michelle who guided them to the location, where they found Ross & his work colleague Emma, together with the original caller Dave Morris & his young daughter. Mr Morris was on holiday from Brownhills in the West Midlands, where he runs a farm, so whilst not an expert in marine wildlife, had sufficient knowledge of young animals to keep other members of the public & dogs away whilst we were on the way. As some of you will know Dave & Lesley also originally come from a small fishing port called Birmingham, therefore it became increasingly difficult for the medics to understand what was being said! Tim carried out a visual assessment of the animal when he arrived & it was found to indeed be a white-coat, of an apparently good weight, but not overly aggressive. Pictures were taken with a camera phone of the pup which were sent, together with the report on the animal's condition to the Seal Sanctuary, who in turn requested that the animal be left in-situ for the night to give its mother an opportunity to locate it & have another look in the following day. The animal was monitored until darkness fell & Mr Morris volunteered to keep an eye on the pup & advise if it was still there in the morning.

Copies of digital photographs were made overnight & sent to Gweek, via medic Dan Jarvis, first thing the next morning… well nearly first thing. Dave had made the big mistake of not appreciating that when a farmer says first thing, that’s just what he means. 05.45, it's dark. An Area Co-ordinator crawls out of bed, falls down the stairs, picks up the phone that’s ringing 'Allo Dave, its still 'ere'.

Once light Dave & Lesley had decided to set out for the scene to keep an eye on the pup for themselves & whilst awaiting news from the Sanctuary. Dave had also sent copies of the digital photographs to BDMLR Veterinary Consultant James Barnett, for his expert opinion & it wasn’t long before his reply came back that the animal appeared to be in it’s second week of life & whilst currently not thin would soon begin to lose weight. It was also apparent that the location was not ideal.

While they were en-route they were contacted by Senior Animal Care Assistant Tamara Cooper, who concurred with James’s observations & advised that she would soon be on her way to give the pup a check over. When Dave & Lesley arrived they found Mr Morris & his family dutifully protecting the animal from any outside human interference. Medic Michelle Robinson soon joined them & the proprietors of the shop on the nearby holiday site, it quickly becoming apparent that the lady originally came from Wolverhampton. About an hour later Tamara arrived accompanied by one of the volunteers who assist at the Sanctuary, named Ben, the latter almost predictably coming from Walsall. Tamara carried out her assessment & decided that it would be in the best interests of the animal if it were to be transported to the Sanctuary for rehabilitation, so having tube-fed the pup with fluids it was up lifted & removed from the beach.

Dave Jarvis
Cornwall Area Co-ordinator