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


2010-03-14 13:23:35

Seal pup rescue at Dover docks

Seal pup at Dover docksThe weekend started well having spent the day with other medics practising rescuing the pilot whale for the BBC. We got home, too tired to do much so Bob offered to cook a nice chicken curry with all the trimmings. We had just finished our last forkful when the phone rang, it was Andy from the Port of Dover Police reporting a seal pup on the eastern arm of Dover docks who appeared to be high and dry - (so were we at this point as we had hoped it was beer o'clock!).

Emma, out of hours co-ordinator was informed of the situation and that we were happy to attend with Lyn.

We arrived at the port and were given a police escort to the outer harbour wall where said seal was situated. He wasn't very pleased to see us and shuffled way around the edges of the arm clearly wanting to get back into the sea but not wanting to make the 15ft leap of faith. The water was at high tide at that point and numerous ferries passed us in very close proximity. After a quick discussion, it was decided that the safest thing to do would be to leave the pup until the morning, which would also give us the opportunity to decide how best to catch the critter.

Morning came round all too quickly and after a quick stop at the garage for drinks and Jaffa cakes, we returned to the port. We were warmly welcomed into the police station and given coffee whilst hatching a plan. Once again we set off under police escort to see our little friend. By this point he had been named Nigel, who knows why!

He hadn't moved much except that he was even closer to the edge and very grumpy. He looked well rounded, fit and healthy and very feisty. With us at this point was a very nice chap from the Dover Harbour Board and Adam from the Port of Dover Police. Adam had taken his animal rescue pole just in case we needed it; he had only used it once before when he successfully rescued a gull. The whole thing was over and done with very quickly. Michelle tempted the seal back from the edge with a blue towel which Nigel clearly wanted to tear to shreds whilst Adam sneaked up from the other side and used his magic pole. This enabled Michelle to do a quick jump onto the seal and straight into the varikennel he went. He did manage to poop very effectively over Michelle whilst this was occurring. Once in the kennel we did another quick assessment of him and checked with Mallydams that immediate relocation was the best form of action.

He was loaded into Lyn's car and we processed out of the port waving to our new found friendly policeman. We decided that the release should occur at St Margarets and as Lyn was unsure of the way, we had to overtake her on the dual carriageway. She was waving her hand in front of her face but appeared quite ok otherwise. When we finally reached our destination, she had all the windows down and looked a bit green around the gills - the double bends down to the beach had obviously taken their toll along with smelly Nigel.

There were a few interested people at the beach and we spent some time explaining who we were and what we were going to do and got all dogs put away from the scene. Nigel had dozed off by this point so we left him to calm down as well. We found the ideal bit of beach and transported the varikennel onto the beach and opened it up. He was out very quickly throwing a few ungrateful looks as he raced for the sea. Within seconds he was way out bobbing up a few times before disappearing altogether. Lyn returned to her car very pleased that her smelly seal had gone, I wasn't so happy as I had to give Michelle a lift home and she smelt very bad indeed.

Our sincere thanks go to Andy and Helen, Adam and the rest of the Port of Dover Police for making us so welcome and for helping us out, also to the Dover Harbour board for offering us various bits of kit if we needed it.

Alex, Lyn and Michelle
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