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


2006-04-18 13:50:41

Juvenile seal with prolapse rescued - Sandy Bay, Exmouth

BDMLR HQ received a call direct from the holiday park at Sandy Bay, Devon, that there was a seal on the rocks on their beach which appeared to be "giving birth".

Living in Exmouth, the call then came to me and spoke with the site manager who was able to confirm that the seal was the same one which was seen on the 5th April, apparently perfectly healthy. This ruled out it being a seal in 'labour' (not only the wrong time of year) as this was a juvenile male Grey seal.

I phoned a number of Exmouth Medics and picked up Scott Bartlett ( Medic and Director of BTA Ltd who provide all BDMLR's online services ). Medic Gemma Barker also arrived at the bay to assist.

As soon as I saw the seal it was obvious it was the youngster seen on the 5th, in virtually an identical position. Scott and I approached and once close enough, could clearly see that this time all was not well. He had a clear prolapse and it was then paramount to get him contained and treated as soon as possible. He would certainly die if not rescued and rehabilitated.

The vari-kennel was fetched from my van and the seal herded gently into it. Staff from the holiday park assisted in getting the kennel into the parks 4x4 which transported it up the steep ramp to my van.

Scott and I then set off towards the RSPCA's Wildlife Hospital at West Hatch (Taunton). I had spoken with them while on the beach and advised we would be on our way to them.

The seal stayed quiet and still for much of the one hour trip and the staff at West Hatch were waiting when we arrived. He was weighed (34.1kg) and then transferred into a pen in the wildlife unit.

Later that day, he was sedated/restrained and the vet/staff were successful in replacing the prolapse. He was immediately started on a course of antibiotics. Hopefully any trauma caused to the lining of the gut which was prolapsed will recover.

Many thanks to Medics Scott Bartlett and Gemma Barker, the staff at Devon Cliffs Holiday Park at Sandy Bay and to the RSPCA.

Tony Woodley
BDMLR Director

Update 18/04/06: The seal is very bright and lively, has bitten one member of staff (Shawn), is now in an outside 'deep' pool and has started to feed himself. He has passed some loose faeces and he remains on strong antibiotics which should also deal with a slight respiratory infection. He has stitches in place to prevent any re-prolapse.