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


2006-11-05 14:11:02

Abandoned seal pup rescued, Cornwall

This story begins on Friday 3rd November, when a newborn grey seal pup was spotted by Cornwall Seal Group member Karl Wheston in a cove around the Godrevy area. The pup’s mother was in attendance and fed it before heading into the surf during the early afternoon.

On the 4th, several Cornwall Seal Group members including Sue Sayer, Terry Hocking and Simon and Martin Bone visited the site to check on the pup, but unfortunately the mother was not seen at all during the day despite continual observation. Sue contacted Coordinator Dave Jarvis who went up to assess the situation with Medics Lesley and Dan Jarvis once it became apparent that there was something wrong. Meanwhile, the pup continued to traverse the beach calling for its mother, and risked being swept away by the particularly high tides. That evening, Dave started to put together plans and contacted Medics in advance for a possible rescue the following day.

On the morning of the 5th, Sue was once again up at the cove very early in the morning and there was still no sign of the mother, so she contacted Dave, who in turn informed the Animal Care Team at the National Seal Sanctuary. Staff members Marianne Fellows and Rachael Vine came out from the centre to assist with the rescue while Dave called out the forewarned Medics.

Meeting at the site, it was decided that the pup did need to be rescued and taken for rehabilitation, so Marianne and Coordinator Tim Bain, with Phil and Dan Jarvis descended the cliffs with rescue equipment and safety ropes while the others readied other rescue equipment and kept the ever-growing crowd of onlookers under control.

Near the bottom of the cliff, Maz and Tim continued down on to the beach while Phil and Dan remained above with the safety ropes to act as support and an anchor point. The rescuers on the beach strolled over to the sleeping pup and after a quick visual assessment, caught it up and put it into the seal bag for removal from the cove. Again the safety ropes were used for the ascent to ensure everyone's safety, and a short while later they were all back at the top of the cliff where Maz and Dan checked the animal for injuries, took its temperature and tube fed it fluids before taking it back to the Sanctuary for rehabilitation.

A big well done to everyone from the Cornwall Seal Group, BDMLR and National Seal Sanctuary who was involved with the monitoring and rescue of this pup under difficult circumstances, and also to the numerous members of the public who gave their support throughout the operation.

Dave Jarvis
Cornwall Coordinator
British Divers Marine Life Rescue