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


2007-11-11 17:32:40

Seal pup rescue - Fraisthorpe, Yorkshire

The call was from Alex (on call) via HQ at 12:20p.

A seal was reported on Fraisthorpe beach, which is south of Bridlington about half an hour away.

I called Pip to see if he could go along to help and suggested he called Damon (he's not a medic but is keen to be one, and could go to observe).

I called round by Filey and picked them up and we set off to investigate, once there we pulled into the car park right on the cliff top and could not believe how many people were there, wind surfers and body boarders and those strange things with a small kite on a long line to pull you over the surf, anyway moving on.

We got wrapped up against the very cold wind and the heavy showers and went to ask people if they had seen anything, the call had come from a MOP to the coastguard and then onto Alex, the only thing we had to go on was that it was south of Fraisthorpe heading towards Barmston.

Hands up if you know how far that is? and don't ask Pip because the answer WILL contain several swear words in no particular order.

Pip took the top of the beach and I took the waters edge while Damo (as we call him, well among other things anyway) took the middle, we told him what to look for, marks in the sand from hauling out a crowd of people or dogs investigating an area on the beach or failing that A SEAL.

We had walked about a mile and seen nothing when Pip said it would be best if I went back and took the car to Barmston and then walked back towards them, because at this rate we may find our seal and be miles away from the car.

There was no way to get the car down onto the beach and even if we had it was too soft and too rocky to be driven along.

The tide was coming in, high water was at 4:30pm and there was a lot of run on as well, so the beach was shrinking quite fast, as I left the car park I met the coastguard coming down to check on the surfers so I flagged them down and explained who we were and that there were two other people on the beach walking towards Barmston looking for the reported seal, and asked them to check if there were anymore details from the original report that we had not been given.

Sadly there was no more to tell and we were no better off, They said the tide would come up even more with the weather conditions like they were and that we should make sure we got off the beach in plenty of time so as not to get trapped as there were small coves and points where the water can cut you off. I drove around to Barmston and went in through the caravan park at the cliff top to try and get as close as possible to where Pip and Damo were walking, after a bit of off roading and going across a field that had recently been sprayed slurry (lovely) I got within about 800 yards, at which point Pip rang me to say they had found the seal (this was about 2 miles from our start point).

The obs were done, it was a common pup, a male, BPM were 8, it was under weight and had a lot of small wounds all over from being knocked around over the last few days by the heavy seas, it was approx. 650 to 700mm long and laying on it's belly, it did respond to us being around but made no effort to get away.

We decided to lift it and made contact with Bev, she said to call round by her house and she would have a cage ready and would contact Linzi at Scarborough Sealife centre to see if they would take it in, we stopped half way back to check on our pup and all was ok.

We got to Bevs and did the transfer into a travel cage and headed for Sealife. Arrived at Sealife at 4:15pm and Linzi was waiting for us with her team and we took him straight into the hospital to get him cleaned up. Linzi's team temped him (38.8) and weighed him (15.1kg) they took a blood sample and the glucose was 9.3, he was given injections and all his wounds were cleaned and treated he got a hose down and was left to rest.

Linzi told us we could take some towels to replace the ones used and let us get cleaned up.

We contacted Linzi a couple of days later and the pup is doing very well.

Can I just say a big thank you to all involved, Alex, Coastguard, Sealife and of course Bev for her support and last but never least Pip, and our newbie Damon well done mate on your first call out.

Bruce Pawson
Filey MMM