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

News

2005-01-26 11:50:01

Medics rescue grey seal pup from West Cornwall beach

Coordinator Dave Jarvis received a call from Sue White at BDMLR Head Office at about midday today (26th), reporting that a seal pup had been spotted by members of the public at Lushington Cove, Porthtowan. As Dave was in Plymouth at the time, he passed on the details to me. I immediately contacted Coordinator Tim Bain and informed him of the situation, then called the National Seal Sanctuary, who had already spoken to Dave and agreed that Tim and I should go out to have a look. I then set out to pick up Tim and the cage from St Ives, before heading out to Porthtowan.

Lushington Cove is a beach to the left of Porthtowan, and is only accessible at low tide. Once we arrived, we met the people that called Head Office, who took us there. The pup was at the far end of the cove, high up on the beach near the strandline. Leaving the cage and people on the sandy bit of the beach, Tim and I carried on up to the pup to assess its condition, noting that it had left a trail all the way up from the tide mark. Before we got there it was obvious that the pup was severely malnourished, and was very quiet, although was looking around. It also had small spots of oil on its underside and was very dehydrated. Apart from this, it had a minor fresh graze on its right rear flipper, most likely from its journey up the beach across the rocks. After informing the Sanctuary of its condition, we fetched the cage and brought it up to the pup. Tim caught it and put it in the cage, and between the two of us carried it back down the beach across on to Porthtowan beach and then back up to the car park (swapping sides frequently!). Once there, we let the pup (and our arms!) have a rest, which generated interest from nearby beach users. After this, we loaded the pup into the car and went on our way.

Arriving at the Sanctuary, we were met by Animal Care Assistants Marianne Fellows and Claire Baker, who weighed the pup at 16kg and took it into an Isolation pen to recover form the trip before its clinical assessment and tube feeding. Marianne and Claire performed the clinical assessment, finding that, oddly, the pup’s rear flippers we covered in lots of small lumps. Besides this, the pup’s breathing was still very quiet and shallow, and creamy yellow phlegm came back up after being tube fed. Its faeces were also a similar colour.

The male pup, now named Wiske, has been aged at around 14 weeks and is being well looked after by the Animal Care Team.

Medic Dan Jarvis
BDMLR West Cornwall
(Newquay - Land's End - St Austell)