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


2009-10-16 09:58:48

Busy Day in the Duchy

A Busy day in the DuchyThe day began quietly enough, with good weather and slight seas, but by mid-morning Area Co-ordinator Tim Bain had received a call from the National Seal Sanctuary, to advise that they had received a message from a member of the public regarding a seal pup at a place known as Economy Cove, near St Ives. Tim re-contacted the caller to get further and better particulars and was told that the original caller had found what was apparently a seal pup that was in a cave surrounded the lots of white fur! Tim was also told that it would also now be impossible to access the area due the rising tide. Therefore, having discussed the situation with Area Co-ordinator Dave Jarvis, it was decided to leave this incident, pending further information.

At 15.45 Area Co-ordinator Dave Jarvis received a call from Trevor Weeks at Head Office regarding a seal pup at Pentargon Beach, near Boscastle. It was reported as having been sighted covered in blood, apparently with it's mother nearby. Dave immediately contacted Assistant Area Co-ordinator Michelle Robinson and asked her to make contact with the caller and check on the situation. No sooner had this been done, than Trevor again contacted Dave again at 16.00 to advise that a call had been received that a dead seal, plus one with a head injury had been seen on the main beach at Godrevy. Dave advised Area Co-ordinators Faye Archell of the overall situation and Tim Bain and the National Seal Sanctuary of the Godrevy report and made his way to the scene, where he made contact with Stuart & Anne, who had made the call. They quickly pointed out the dead animal on the middle of the beach and the young pup lying amongst the rocks, next to the large adult male ‘beachmaster'. Due to the angle that it was lying at, no injury was initially apparent, but after a patient wait, the pup moved and fresh blood could be seen on it's throat area and on the beach beneath it. At this point Dave put into action the rescue plan. Soon afterwards Cornwall Seal Group member Terry Hocking arrived and he was asked to monitor the animal's condition. Animal Care Assistants Dan Jarvis and Jenna Blacow from the National Seal Sanctuary were also soon there, followed by Tim, Chris, Phil and medic Lesley Jarvis. Michelle Robinson then rang Dave to let him know that she had made contact with the original caller, who had returned to the location with her, but that the pup had disappeared from view.

As the operation began the light was already rapidly fading, but the team were well prepared with the climbing equipment recently purchased by BDMLR for situations such as this. Fortunately the beachmaster had returned to the sea as the tide receded, so when Tim and Dan made it onto the beach the pup was alone. A brief examination showed the it had a large wound to the left hand side of it's face with a flap of flesh hanging down, so it was quickly put into a seal bag which was then hauled up the first climb using a pulley system that had been devised at home by Chris (with the assistance of Millie the cat), before the slog up to the top of the cliff, where they arrived shortly after 20.00 and were met by Jenna and Terry, together with medics Sue Sayer, Sue Waterhouse and Trevor Waterhouse who had now arrived to assist. The pup was rapidly transferred to Gweek, where it was found to also have a wound to the top of its head.

Thanks to all of the medics involved in the day's activities, as well the members of the public, but especially to Chris and Phil for turning out to supervise the climbing, as well as Pat Moret and his team from Cornwall Search and Rescue for their recent assistance on health and safety to make these types of rescues easier.

Dave Jarvis
Cornwall Area Co-ordinator

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