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

News

2017-11-15 10:52:44

New rescue unit aims to save seals

As a response to increased rescues in the UK of harbour seal pups during the summer and grey seal pups in the autumn and winter, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, in partnership with the Seal Protection Action Group, have put the first Mobile Seal Rescue Unit (MSRU) on the road.

Designed to provide much needed short term care facilities for seals prior to their relay to a rehabilitation facility, the unit has been funded by UK-based charity Seal Protection Action Group.  It will be deployed tactically wherever needed in the UK and contains equipment and supplies necessary to house seals overnight, prior to either further relay onwards or release after a short period of recuperation.

Alan Knight OBE, BDMLR’s Chair, said ‘As far as we know, our mobile unit is the first of its kind in the UK; it will be a big help to our teams and to the wildlife we’re rescuing.  Seal rehabilitation facilities are filling to capacity very quickly nowadays and just being able to hold on to animals for a day or two until a place frees up will be of great benefit to all.  We really appreciate the donation and advice from Seal Protection Action Group that has allowed us to move this project forward’.

It is hoped that the unit, a specially converted Ifor Williams horsebox, will be the first of a small fleet of rescue units in the future.  It can also be utilised to assist other charities and organisations as needed, for instance following an oil spill where seabirds require initial treatment prior to moving on.  In the last year volunteers from BDMLR have responded to over 870 calls about marine wildlife in distress, with around 90% of those being seals. The charity is the only organisation carrying out such work across England, Scotland and Wales and has network of over 3,500 trained volunteers who as well as attending rescues, run regular training courses through the year.

Executive Director of the Seal Protection Action Group Andy Ottaway said ‘We are delighted and proud to partner BDMLR in this innovative project. It will increase our ability to help sick, injured and orphaned seals and other wildlife wherever it is needed most.  Sadly, our seals and other marine animals are threatened as never before and we aim to make the Mobile Seal Rescue Unit the first of many on the front line saving our wildlife”

For further details on British Divers Marine Life Rescue please see www.bdmlr.org.uk. Tel: 01825 765546

For further details on Seal Protection Action Group please see www.sealaction.org. Tel: 01273 515416

Photos By Dan Jarvis BDMLR