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


2009-01-24 10:18:03

Net Entangled Seal Pup at Mutton Cove, Cornwall

On the 24/1/09 I received a call from Dave Jarvis who in turn had had a call from Sue Sayer (Cornwall Seal Group) about a net entangled seal on Mutton Cove, it had been seen hauled out in the past, but due to bad weather a rescue attempt had been ruled out.

On arrival myself and Dave Jarvis assessed the situation. The seal was hauled out close to the cliff face and in a good position, where it could not see us as we descended down. The conditions were not perfect, but the forecast was for more bad weather coming in, so a rescue attempt was put into plan. Sue from (CSG) phoned her partner Chris and his friend Phil, who are both experienced climbers and had been on standby, while Dave phoned around for other medics. Colin Pringle agreed to attend as he has climbing experience and has also been into the cove.

When everyone arrived a risk assessment was carried out, we got into our safety harnesses and doned our helmets, Chris and Phil headed down to sort out and secure the ropes, once they were in position Colin and I made our way down (carefully and quietly). Some of the seals became aware and headed down the beach and out to sea, the drop off point was pretty wet but we managed to get down safely. Colin an I approached the pup, which was still unaware of our presence, as I went to jump it, it tried to make an escape, but Colin blocked its path and I managed to secure it. it was only then that we realised the net had cut in worse than we expected. I radioed up to Dave that the seal would need medical treatment and would need to come up the cliff. I cut at least 8 strands of the monofilement net from the wound and we bagged it up for its assent up the cliff (22kg of wriggling seal up a 150ft wet cliff proved interesting!!) Once everyone was safely up the seal was placed into the cage ready for Dave and Lesley to take it up to RSPCA West Hatch.

Big thanks to everyone involved, especially Chris and Phil as without their help the rescue would not have been possibly! Colin Pringle for helping with the capture and recovery, Dave and Lesley for there untiring work and the long journeys they have had to make! And also Sue Sayer for spotting and reporting the seal and to everyone that turned up to help out that I might have forgotten about. Great job!

Tim Bain
Area Coordinator