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


2009-04-17 09:18:01

Cresswell seal call-out

Juvenile sealAfter being away for the first week of the holidays I was hoping to get a full week’s worth of revision for my AS exams done, and out of the way with. However it seems the seals had a different idea!

My first ever callout came on Tuesday to a seal pup with wire around it, but by the time I had arrived, it had been released. This was followed by a phone call on Thursday, to keep an eye out for an ill looking seal pup in Beadnell. Then, at 1.20pm on Friday 17th of April came my third call of the week!

A local group of lads from Widdrington Station had been out fishing and had come across a juvenile seal. It was breathing but unresponsive. The seal was located on the south end of Druridge Bay, Cresswell, Northumberland. I quickly dumped the text books grabbed my grab bag, and made my way up to Cresswell. On arrival in the car park, two of the lads took me on a half mile run to see the seal. On first appearance the seal looked lifeless. The seal had no signs of trauma, no mucus around the mouth and nose, and in my unqualified opinion it didn’t appear malnourished or dehydrated.

I immediately rung Sue from head office and explained the situation. I measured the seal (1m 30cm), and its breathing rate (26 breaths per minute), its breathing rate was high and extremely laboured. Sue told me we would have to find a way of getting the seal to a vets’ practice, as there were no available vets to come to the beach. The lads went back to fishing while Sue sorted out some transport. After an hour Sue was delighted to inform me there was another local medic who could be with us in 10 minutes in transit van, Amanda Moore. I managed to get hold of a large dog cage from my mother who kindly drove all the up from Newcastle for a second time, to get it to us. After an hour and a half of sitting with the seal I rang one of the lads who went to meet Amanda in the car park and guided her to the seal. My Mum arrived half an hour later and was met again by the lads who carried the heavy dog cage the half mile to the seal.

Amanda and I managed to lift and drag the seal into the cage, which just fitted with its nose against the bars and flipper gently curved round. Now for the hardest part. The four anglers and I hauled the seal back to the van. On our journey to the van, the boys decided to name the seal Bessie! From here Amanda and I took Bessie to Blythman and partners’ veterinary practice in Gosforth, and my Mum drove the boys back to their fishing equipment.

Another problem arose once we arrived at the practice, how to get Bessie in, without our trusty anglers! We were pleased when an army of vets and nurses came to lift it inside. Carolyn a vet at the practice, and also a trained MMM, put Bessey on a drip. Amanda and I reluctantly left the seal and headed for home.

Unfortunately, shortly after leaving the seal it passed away naturally.

A huge thank you goes out to the anglers, Jordan Hudspith, Daniel Watson, Daniel Cunningham, and Anthony Carr; we couldn't have done any of it without you. Also thank you to Amanda, my Mum, Sue White and Blythman Vets.

Max Ling