SOS logo News Update Cornish Seal Sanctuary
Issue 150
60 years Celebrated


1958-2018 - Celebrating 60 years of Seal Rescue

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary celebrated their Diamond Anniversary this summer!
In July 1988 Ken Jones retires. He sells the Cornish Seal Sanctuary to his friend Mike Thomas and a Board of Investors.

Mike was working at the Seal Sanctuary as a Consultant for some time Ken continued to live close by and would often pop in to help out.

Photo: Mike Thomas is the one holding the fish
Mike Thomas
In 1990 Macaroni Penguins arrived at the Sanctuary, after a year they had their own purpose-built pool, now used by the resident Common Seals.

Here is a short video of the Penguins being moved by Courtney and Malcolm, to the new enclosure.

The Penguins stayed for a few years until they were moved to Edinburgh Zoo.
Macaroni Penguins
In early 1990s Purbeck the baby seal should be splashing around in the Arctic - but a wrong turn found him 2,000 miles away in Dorset.

The harp seal had already swum 1,500 miles from summer feeding grounds off Russia towards northern Canada when he veered left instead of right and began heading south.

First stop was Poole harbour where he was rescued barely alive after fisherman spotted him lying on a pontoon.

Click here to read more the full newspaper article.
Purbeck the harp seal in the early 1990s
In 1992 Pepper and Rocky, Californian Sea Lions, got to meet each other, here is a short video story of how they met with rare footage of Pepper in Cape Cod Aquarium. Click here to read their story. Pepper was 13 years old when she came to England.

Website Editor Note: We found a newspaper article in the New York Times from 1981 about the Cape Cod Aquarium.
Rocky and Pepper
With Pepper came Ursa, her granddaughter, who was 6 months old. Ursa stayed at the Seal Sanctuary for a few years in the convalescent pool, she was very mischievous, a real show off and would wind all the grey seals up by doing dolphin impressions over them in the pool.

She was moved to Chessington and then in February 2007 to Mundomar Marine in Benidorm.
Ursa, Californian Sea Lion
In 1993 the Seal Sanctuary had its first extension to the hospital. Work had cost around £50,000.

Click here to read a pdf version of the newsletters dated Winter/Spring 1993 and Summer 1993.
Hospital extension - 1993
In 1993 the Sanctuary was sold to Vardon, who later became Merlin Entertainments, for £1.8m. Ken expressed a desire to purchase the Sanctuary back but wasn´t given enough notice.
In 1999 the Sanctuary had four Fur Seal visitors. They were Cape Fur Seals, three from Coombe Martin Wildlife Park in North Devon (Andy, Mandy, and Princess), and as the adult female turned out to be pregnant, one born at the Sanctuary (Chaff).

These were visiting on a temporary basis at the Sanctuary, whilst their pool was being refurbished.
Fur Seals
In 2001 a new Sea Lion Cove was built, this enclosure was home to the much loved Patagonian Sea Lions, Carus and Dipsy. Dipsy passed away in 2006 and Carus passed away in 2008.
Patagonian Sea Lion Cove
Over the years Sea Lion Cove has been home to Carus (photo below), Dipsy & Boadicea and the current residents are Diego & Noito.
Patagonian Sea Lion, Carus
In 2005/06 listeners to popular Cornish radio station Pirate FM Radio 102.2 & 102.8 had voted the Seal Sanctuary the "Cornwall´s Best Tourist Attraction".

Pirate FM breakfast radio show presenter, Bob McCreadie presented the award to Dr Glenn Boyle, Sanctuary´s Curator.

The results were announced by Breakfast presenter Bob McCreadie who had revealed that the Cornish Seal Sanctuary had won by a landslide, in spite of stiff competition from Flambards and the National Maritime Museum.

Photo below: Bob McCreadie (left) and Dr Glenn Boyle (right)
Cornish's Best Tourist Attraction in 2005/6
In 2006 a kind hearted lady, pictured below with the Attraction Manager Michelle Drew, Rhona Scott from Swansea in Wales.

Rhona spent around 100 hours creating this rug hook art picture of a seal using all recycled materials - shirts, sweaters and other bits of clothing, backed with denim.

She and her husband Ken visited on 9th July 2006 to donate the fruit of her labours to The Cornish Seal Sanctuary.

Rhona said "as the sanctuary was founded by an ex-miner from Tonypandy (Ken Jones), a gift from Swansea was a happy coincidence to keep a Welsh connection going".
Photo of Rhona presenting Michelle with the rug hook art picture of a seal
This is one of our favourite photos from February 2006.
Lets Fight
In April 2007 the Seal Sanctuary gave a temporary home to Sahara, a hooded seal, who had washed up off the coast of Morocco in September 2006.

He was found in a very poor condition lost and malnourished, and after months of rehabilitation in Tenerife, he was then moved to Gweek for the final stage of rehab before being released back into the wild. Click here to read more.
Sahara, hooded seal
On 20th March 2008 saw the official opening of the combined Seal Rescue Centre and underwater viewing observatory.

Opened by the Mayor and Mayoress of Helston this has proved an instant hit with adults and children and the pups and residents were very obliging and performing in front of the viewing windows on a daily basis.
Seal Rescue Centre, underwater observatory and interactive seal rescue talk
April was only 2-3 days old when she was found on a beach in Padstow on 22nd April 2008 not looking too well.   April was released back into the wild at Porthtowan beach on 12th February 2009.

This photo of April was taken a few months later in the nursery pool.
April, rescued seal pup from 2008
In 2010 the new Penguin enclosure was opened giving six Humboldt Penguins a home. Over the years, the Penguin family would increase as the Sanctuary offers a home to other Penguins in need.

Pirate FM 102.2 & 102.8 Radio´s girlband "Eden" carried out the official opening of the Penguin Sanctuary on 1st April 2010, the girls also performed their single "Steal The Night".
Humboldt Penguins
In 2010 Babyface the eldest adult male harbour/common seal in the world joined the Seal Sanctuary on 17th September 2010, after spending 26 years at Colchester Zoo in Essex.

He was originally rescued by the Mablethorpe Seal Sanctuary in Lincolnshire.

Whilst at Colchester Zoo, Babyface sired many pups.
In 2013 Bo (photo below), a common seal, was the first pup to be born in over 15 years.

He was a big surprise to the Team as dad, Babyface, was thought to be unable to breed.
It was an even bigger surprise when his little brother, Buddy, was born the following year as mum, Sija, was on contraception!

Both boys now live with their dad and Jarvis (a rescued common seal pup from 2016) in the common seal pool.
Bo, Buddy and Jarvis
In 2014 the Seal Sanctuary had a celebrity helping with the seal release, the BBC One Show´s Mike Dilger came and helped release Rover, Ayla and Jupiter on 2nd June 2014.

Click here to watch the release as shown on the BBC One Show.

Mike is seen here with some of the Sanctuary Staff.
From L - R: Wayne, Mike, Tamara, Jess, Kate and Dan.
Mike Dilger
In Summer 2017, the Sanctuary carried out a refurbishment to improve and upgrade the seal rescue hospital.

The process took three months and the team were delighted to launch the hospital and be able to showcase the improvements. Click here to read more.
Seal Hospital layout plan
In March 2018 the Cornish Seal Sanctuary has announced it is under new ownership. It now belongs to a charity.

The UK´s fastest growing wildlife charity, the Trust is supported by the global network of Sea Life aquariums and has also worked closely with the Sanctuary for the last three years.

Photo below: Andy Bool, Head of the Sea Life Trust, and Tamara Cooper, Sanctuary´s Curator
Seal Sanctuary To Be Run By Charity
Click on an image below to watch some videos from our archives.
Celebrating 60 years Ken Jones feeding Ken Jones feeding the Residents
Short video Christmas Fayre 2013 Armstrong, a rescued seal pup, 31st December 2013
Juggling Otter Seal Release on 28th May 2014 Rescued seal pup in the hospital

Buy your Discount Entry Tickets in Advance
Don´t forget to purchase your entrance tickets for single admission tickets, family tickets, group tickets, school bookings, etc., on-line in advance and Save Money.

Plus you can also purchase SEA LIFE Annual Passes.

When you click here or on the button right, it will take you through to the Official Cornish Seal Sanctuary website for the Best Price Guarantee.
A Frequent Question: I´m on holiday in the area and can´t print my tickets

Answer: Although it is preferable and quicker if the front of house staff have a printed copy of your ticket, you can still book your tickets online in advance and make savings if you bring along the booking reference number (or can show the email confirmation on a mobile device) and some ID that matches the booking name. The Front of House Staff can then check the records and allow entry from there.

This news update has been put together by volunteers/supporters of the Cornish Seal Sanctuary.

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