Grey seal pup rescue season off to
an early start in Cornwall

This evening (18th of August 2005) we rescued our first grey seal pup of the 2005/2006 season. The Seal Sanctuary called Coordinator Dave Jarvis to say that a pup had hauled out on a public beach at St Agnes, and was moving away from the water.

Throwing the seal cage in the car, Dave and Medics Lesley Jarvis and myself set off for the site, calling out Medics Sue Sayer and Jim and Ida Moore on the way.

Arriving at the site, we met the lifeguards watching over the pup, which was sitting right at the bottom of the slipway under the lifeguard hut. It was fully moulted, but extremely malnourished and dehydrated. We called Marianne Fellows at the Seal Sanctuary, who agreed to meet us halfway with Medic Phil Jarvis so it could be tubed vital fluids.

I jumped the pup while Dave, Lesley and Sue got the cage into place. I estimated the pup to weigh around 12kg and at 3 - 4 weeks old. The pup barely struggled, and up until that point had been mostly unresponsive and unaware of the people around it, which was not a good sign. The pup was then taken up the hill to the car park and loaded up to be taken away. For the first few minutes it stayed alert and was being a bit noisy, but then became lethargic and unresponsive again, making us all very concerned about the animal's condition.

Meeting at a pub car park in Four Lanes, near Redruth, the cage was unloaded and Marianne tube fed the pup fluids and also gave it some glucose. She confirmed that it was a male of 3 weeks old.

At the Sanctuary we met with Medic Rachael Vine, who also works there. A pen in the Isolation area was prepared while the pup rested before being moved in and given a clinical examination. Before this he was weighed at 10.5kg - a very poor weight. Marianne, Phil and myself carried out the examination, and found a few bite wounds to the flippers, and another to the neck. His temperature was recorded at 37.5C, which gave us cause for some relief. It was noticed that his breathing had become ruckly as well. 'Mite' as he was now known, had his injuries cleaned, was injected with antibiotics and tube fed more fluids.

After this, we tidied up and went home. Marianne decided to return later in the evening to check on Mite's progress.

Thanks to all Medics who responded to this call out, including Jim and Ida who probably arrived a few minutes after we left the cove but rapid transportation to the Sanctuary was essential. Thanks also to the St Agnes lifeguards who kept watch over the pup until we arrived, kept people away from it and for the use of their telephone line (no mobile signal in the cove).

Medic Dan Jarvis
BDMLR West Cornwall
(Newquay - Lands End - St Austell)
Date: 18th August 2005

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