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


2009-01-24 13:34:10

Day of rescues in Cornwall

Seal pup with neck injuryJust before 9am the first callout of the day was received via Animal Care Assistant Dan Jarvis at the National Seal Sanctuary regarding a pup or juvenile seal on the beach at Porthcothan, near Newquay. A second call was received to advise the it had gone down the beach towards the water, but Assistant Coordinator Jenny Haley and Medic Susie Ray had already been mobilised.

At 9.30, Coordinator Dave Jarvis was contacted by Medic Sue Sayer, who runs the Cornwall Seal Group, to say that a pup entangled in monofilament fishing net had been spotted at an inaccessible cove in the St Ives Bay area. The pup had been spotted by CSG members before, once in December and again a few days before today. The net was caught around the neck and by now was cutting in. Sadly previous rescue attempts had been too dangerous to undertake, but today was a different story. As the team made their way to the location, Jenny Haley rang to confirm that the pup at Porthcothan had gone back into the water. Upon arrival, Coordinator Tim Bain assessed conditions for a rope-based rescue and decided that it was possible. Tim, Medic Colin Pringle, Sue’s partner Chris and his climbing buddy Phil were very quickly ready to go down into the cove using ropes and wearing safety harnesses, while, Dave and Sue, along with Medic Lesley Jarvis monitored from the clifftop and kept the growing crowd of onlookers informed of the situation. » Images of the rescue operation

While this was going on, back at the Sanctuary Dan took a call about a pup at Morthoe in North Devon. He liaised with BDMLR Out-of-Hours Coordinator Faye Archell who informed him the animal was being already being monitored by Medic Jenny O’Connor in case the mother returned.

Meanwhile, Tim and the others had made it to the bottom of the cliff and used the ropes and harnesses to descend the drop off to get on to the beach. The pup was still not aware of them at this point, so it was easily captured and the net cut away. Underneath the injury was deep and infected, so the pup was secured in a seal bag a carefully brought up the cliff so that it could be taken for rehabilitation at RSPCA West Hatch in Somerset by Dave and Lesley, with a quick stop to see vets/Medics Sean Langton and Katie Lewis for treatment on the way.

A little later in the day, Dan took a call at the Sanctuary about a pup at Gunwalloe Church Cove, so he set out with volunteer Hannah to check it out. The beach is well used by members of the public and the pup was sitting well above the tidemark with lots of people near it. The pup was assessed to be in fairly good condition, but it was noticed that it had oedema in one eye so would have to undergo treatment. A short while later Dan was also making his way up to West Hatch.

The final callout was back in the Newquay area. Just as Dave Jarvis delivered the 'ringnecked' pup to West Hatch, East Devon Area Coordinator Sue Davie rang him to advise that her daughter had found an injured herring gull. Dave immediately put Assistant Area Coordinator Jenny Haley in touch with Sue & the bird was collected. It wasn’t particularly active and had an old wing injury so she took it for treatment at Clifton Villas Veterinary Surgery.

Well done to everyone involved in this very eventful day with so many good outcomes!

Dave Jarvis
Director and Cornwall Area Coordinator
British Divers Marine Life Rescue