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


2009-03-09 12:02:00

Seriously Ring-necked Pup Rescued From Cove

Seal pup rescueIn mid-February Cornwall Seal Group founderand medic Sue Sayer had observed a young pup that had become entangled in a fishing net off-cut. Over the following days, the pup was seen from time to time. At around 08.45 on 9th March, Sue made an early morning visit and noted the pup, along with about 30 others. She contacted Area Co-ordinator Dave Jarvis, to advise him of the situation and medic Dan Jarvis was despatched to the scene to make an assessment. Upon arrival and in conjunction with Sue, he looked at the scene and advised Dave that it was unlikely that a rescue would be possible, due to the location of the pup and the likelihood that any potential rescuers would be seen. No further was heard for a couple of hours, but following a heavy rain storm, Dan was back in contact to advise that although several other seals had hauled out, the ringnecked pup had moved up the beach and that there was now a possibility of a rescue attempt. BDMLR Consultant Veterinary Surgeon, Sean Langton, had now also joined Dan and Sue at the Cove. Dave collected Area Co-ordinator Tim Bain, whilst other members of the team, medics Colin Pringle, Bex Allen, Caroline Curtis, Sue Waterhouse & Trevor Waterhouse were asked to attend, together with medic Tamara Cooper, who is also the Animal Care Supervisor at the National Seal Sanctuary, Gweek and Hannah, who is one of their volunteers.

At this time a call was also received regarding an apparently injured seabird in Newquay. Unfortunately Assistant Area Co-ordinator Jenny Haley was unable to get out from the Veterinary Surgery where she worked, so Dave made contact with Area Co-ordinator Faye Archell, who was on her lunchbreak, and asked her to endeavour to locate the caller & animal, so she set out with medic Imogen Ahern and a work colleague. In the event, the original caller removed the injured bird himself and appeared at Jenny’s place of work before Faye and her team arrived.

Meanwhile, back at the Cove, the team had assembled and it was decided that Colin and Bex would look after the ropes and get Tim and Tamara down onto the beach, which was done without unduly disturbing the seals. Once on the beach, Tim and Tamara carefully made their way between the rocks, with seals occasionally going back into the sea. Having reached the spur at the mid-point, they paused for a moment to re-assess the location of their 'target', which had now moved further up the beach. At this point the heavens opened and a torrential rain shower passed over and this also appeared to unsettle the seals, so the rescuers made a make or break dash across the beach, but as they did so approximately 20 seals began to move towards the sea from their right, whilst the ringnecked pup also moved further away and headed towards a channel that the rising tide had created, but Tamara was not to be denied and she managed to 'jump' the pup in the rocks just at the tideline. Tim was soon with her and the pup initially moved to a safer location, where the net was removed and the animal assessed, following on from which it was decided that it was in need of clinical treatment. Therefore, the team came up from the Cove, bringing the pup with them so that it could be taken to the Sanctuary for rehabilitation, where it was named Riley, after Paul Riley, who as well as being the main veterinary advisor for the Sanctuary, is also a BDMLR Consultant Veterinary Surgeon.

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