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


2009-09-24 11:56:29

Seal pup rescue, Portreath Beach

Seal pupArea Co-ordinator Dave Jarvis received a telephone call from Area Co-ordinator Tim Bain at around 08.15, to enquire if he was aware of the story on the local radio, regarding a dead shark possibly on Hayle beach. As Dave had not heard about it, he immediately contacted the Cornwall Wildlife Trust Marine Strandings Network who were also unaware of the situation. Following some rapid investigation work, it became apparent that, if still there, the animals body would be located somewhere near the St Ives Bay Holiday Park. Dave together with medic Lesley Jarvis quickly made their way to the location and soon found the fresh remains of the animal, at the location reported.

After taking measurements and samples, Dave and Lesley returned home at 12.30, but were not their for long, because at 13.30 a message was received from the National Seal Sanctuary, that they had received a report of a possible white coat pup in a cave on Portreath beach. Dave and Lesley dashed to the scene and were guided to the location by the members of the public, who had discovered the young seal. It was immediately apparent that the animal was very young, as it had a pink umbilicus, but that there were no signs of any haul out trail and their was numerous signs of human footprints and those of dogs in close proximity. Dave contacted the National Seal Sanctuary to advise them of the situation and they asked for the animal to be uplifted and brought into them. Claire McGowan at the Sanctuary also told Dave that a call had been received about further pup at Hawkers Cove, near Padstow and Dave asked Claire to contact BDMLR Head Office to ask them to mobilise medics to that location, whilst Dave and Lesley dealt with the pup they had in front of them.

The young pup was picked up and rapidly transported to the Seal Sanctuary for treatment, and on arrival Dave was advised that yet another call had been received from the RSPCA to advise about a further animal not far from Padstow at Treyarnon Bay, it was apparent that this was not the same incident, that medics were already en route to, therefore Dave contacted Sue White at Head Office to advise her of the situation and to ask for further medics to be sent to the new location. After cleaning the rescue equipment Dave and Lesley then set out for the Padstow area and waited for information regarding both situations, which was not long in coming from Area Co-ordinator Faye Archell, who had arrived at Hawkers Cove, together with medics Jude McCall, Talullah Rodgers and Del Allerton-Baldwin.

They had found an apparently weaned seal pup up above the tide line, but with no apparent injuries. Dave was also advised en route by Sue White that medic and vet nurse Michelle Barley was checking Treyarnon Bay and adjacent beaches. On arrival at Hawkers Cove, Dave made contact with Faye and the other medics and after a visual examination of the pup, it was decided to jump the animal, to check for wounds and take its temperature etc. The task of jumping the animal was given to Del, who only qualified to be a medic at the Appledore course, the preceding weekend. The temperature taken was slightly high but as the animal had been laying in the hot sun on rocks for several hours, it was decided in consultation with the Seal Sanctuary, as their was no other apparent injuries, that the animal be relocated back down to the beach, in order that it would not injure itself, when it tried to go back down the rocks and into the water. Having done this, the animal, it made its way into the shallows, only looking back to look at its rescuers.

Sue White then advised that despite an extensive search, Michelle Barley had not found any sign of the seal pup, in the locations she had been to. Therefore as light was rapidly fading, the medics were stood down for the evening.

Dave Jarvis
Cornwall area co-ordinator

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