Following a call from a member of the public at 10am on Sunday the 8th of May 2005, BDMLR Coordinators Dave Jarvis and Tim Bain, with Medic Lesley Jarvis, were mobilised by Animal Care Assistant Selina Gregory of the National Seal Sanctuary to St Agnes on the North Cornish coast. The caller had reported a (very late!) whitecoat grey seal pup lying at the side of a well-used public beach, and also that its umbilicus was still present.
Tim Dave and Lesley arrived a short time later, and found the tiny pup to be still covered in bloody fluids from being born, and the umbilicus was still bleeding – obviously the pup was less than a couple of days old at the most. Although a couple of dogs on the beach had already been over to investigate the pup, it was not injured or disturbed. It was decided that the public would be kept well away from the area the pup was in, should the mother return to it. As the pup was so young, a search for the birth sac was also conducted, but nothing was found. The Sanctuary was updated on the progress made so far.
Unfortunately, it was a warm, sunny day, meaning that many people soon arrived on the beach. All were successfully kept at a distance and educated about what was happening to reduce disturbance. By this time, the pup had woken up and was being generally active and noisy, which was attracting dogs that had to be kept at bay.
At 3:30pm, nearly six hours after the original call, no seals whatsoever had been sighted offshore, leaving the Medics concerned that it had been abandoned, whether it be due to disturbance or some other reason was not known. To make matters worse, the tide was now coming in rapidly, and the pup would soon be caught in it although it did not appear to realise. Other concerns were that the pup was in an area not known to have a resident population of seals, and that anecdotally, it has been noted by the Godrevy Seal Group that a pup has been born during May in the Godrevy area, but that these pups have apparently failed to survive. The Sanctuary was contacted, and the pup was duly uplifted and transported there, and were met by Animal Care Assistant Claire Baker, who carried out a clinical assessment of the pup with Selina. They found it to be a female of apparently normal weight and uninjured. The Sanctuary’s Care Team is now caring for the pup around the clock.
|Medic Dan Jarvis
BDMLR West Cornwall
(Newquay – Land’s End – St Austell)
Date: 8th May 2005