Butter, a rescued pupFollowing the recent discovery of scores of dead cetaceans washed up on West Country beaches the National Seal Sanctuary is warning that the region´s grey seals are also at risk. The warning follows the rescue of a 14-week-old female pup with the worst injuries caused by fishing nets that Sanctuary staff have ever witnessed.

A walker called the National Seal Sanctuary in Gweek after finding the poorly pup on Portreath beach on the North coast of Cornwall on the 6th of February 2002.
On arrival animal care assistants Tamar Smith and Tamara Cooper found the pup close to death after fishing net had become embedded around it´s neck causing horrific wounds and very nearly garrotting the pup. Nicknamed Butter by staff, it was then brought back to the Sanctuary where the netting was carefully removed and the pup admitted to an intensive care isolation pen.

"The pup was basically being slowly strangled to death by the netting," said Sanctuary manager Judy Williams. "It´s the worst case of its type we have ever seen". "This pup could be the tip of the iceberg," she added, "grey seals are thought to move around quite extensively so there could be many more victims out at sea that we never even know about."
Skate, a rescued pup with coloured tag In an attempt to collect more information about the pups that they have released, this year the Sanctuary is implementing a new method of tagging pups and asking the general public to report sightings.

The Sanctuary is also working on a long-term plan to fit pups with electronic tags so that they can be tracked by satellite.