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


2014-12-23 08:01:37

Seal rescued from a field, 20 miles inland!

Yesterday, Monday December 22nd, BDMLR's head office took a call from Merseyside Police about a seal that had turned up in a field in Newton-le-Willows, some twenty miles from the Mersey.

From the description of the animal it sounded like it was an adult male grey seal and this was confirmed when photographs came through.  It had probably swum up a couple of very narrow tidal brooks, northwards from the Mersey and hauled out at high tide for a rest, but unfortunately well away from its usual haunts.  There are grey seals in the Irish Sea and are a common sight in Liverpool Bay, with a haulout at West Hoyle sandbanks near Hilbre Island in the mouth of the Dee estuary.

BDMLR were able to advise the Police and suggested they also called the Fire and Rescue service to see if they could assist.  The RSPCA were also alerted and BDMLR volunteer medics Chris Todd, Rachael Fraser and Eric Thresher responded to the BDMLR callout and headed to the scene.  BDMLR were also in touch with Alison Charles from the RSPCA East Winch wildlife hospital.

The RSPCA were able to bring along a pig crate into which the feisty seal was herded, before being transported to the RSPCA Stapely Grange wildlife hospital in Cheshire to be assessed prior to release back into the open sea.  There was concern that the seal may have been shot as this sadly has happened in the area, so it would be checked for any wounds before any further decision was made, although judging by the liveliness of the animal, this seems unlikely.

This item will be updated with more information once we have it from Stapely Grange.

BDMLR would like to thank our volunteers Chris, Rachael and Eric for being on the scene and getting fully involved, as well as another Chris and Racheal from Merseyside Police and their team, Neil and his team from the Fire and Rescue and Jon and Alison from the RSPCA. Thanks are also due to the local farmer who also played a major role in getting seal into the crate.

Photographs and a report can be seen by clicking here and a Youtube video from Catherine Lawler can be viewed here.

Report from RSPCA Stapely Grange 10am Tuesday December 23rd
The grey seal has had a quiet night at the wildlife hospital and there are no signs of injury. It will be re-assessed later today as it does have a bit of nasal discharge but this isn't thought to be too serious.  If it is not in a fit state to be releases back to open water it will be transported to the RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Hosptial in Norfolk, where they have a specialist seal care centre.

Update Wednesday December 24th
As the seal was suffering from quite a copoius and sticky nasal discharge, it was transported to RSPCA East Winch where it will be cared for.  It is suspected that it may be suffering from pneumonia and therefore requires attention prior to release.

Update from RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Hospital January 5th 2015
Happy New Year! the adult bull seal, now named Dumbledore by RSPCA staff (all seals in the centre this year are being given Harry Potter names!) has been eating and drinking.  Although still poorly with pneumonia, he is keeping the centre's staff on their toes.


Stephen Marsh
BDMLR Operations Manager

Photo credits: Seal in Field -Colin Lane/Liverpool Echo, BDMLR Medics and seal being herded - Mercury Press & Media. Dumbledore at RSPCA - Jo Collins.


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