55 Years of Seal Rescue
Courtney helped Jenny to give birth to Duchess
Courtney helped Jenny to give birth to Duchess in 1993
Jenny was 23 years old and had given birth to several pups whilst at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. It was thought that she was expecting again, so she was moved to one of the nursery pools in December 1992. As the weeks passed the staff began to doubt Jenny was pregnant, however, on the 22nd February 1993 she became very restless.

Mike (one of the owners of the Cornish Seal Sanctuary) and Courtney (a member of the staff) stayed with her overnight, but it was late morning before the birth looked imminent.

Courtney, who used to be a farmer, had delivered calves and lambs on many occasions, so was looking forward to delivering a seal.

Courtney could see that Jenny was having problems so he assisted with the delivery of the pup. After its was born, at first the pup looked dead, so Courtney started to try and clear its airways. Because "a human helped" in the difficult birth, Jenny could smell Courtney on the pup and rejected her.

The reason for Courtney helping was that the umbilical cord had become tangled around the pup, preventing its entrance into the world.

The pup was named Duchess, as the Duchess of York had visited the Cornish Seal Sanctuary a few days before the birth. The day after their visit, the royal party caught the train to London, photos in the newspapers showed the Princesses cuddling flurry toy seals, gifts from Mike Thomas.

Duchess was released into the wild on 17th March 1993 at Poldhu, a year after she was born at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary.

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