Riley was rescued on 9th March 2009
On the 12th February 2009 volunteers from the Cornwall Seal Group reported seeing a young male grey seal pup with monofilament fishing net entangled around the neck. Estimated to be 2 months old, and with a lot of growing still to do, the netting was already beginning to restrict his movement and cause a small gash around the neck.
With a worrying prognosis, over the following weeks the Cornwall Seal Group and BDMLR medics kept a close look out for the seal, during which time he hauled out a handful of times on one of the busiest seal breeding beaches in the South West. Largely inaccessible to humans due to the steep 200ft cliff and being cut off by the tide, the cove is a perfect spot for seals to give birth, but less then ideal for a rescue attempt!

Finally, on the 9th March 2009 the seal hauled out on low tide with around fifteen other seals offering the best opportunity so far to attempt a rescue.
Photo of Riley was taken by Sue Sayer of the Cornwall Seal Group
With the tide coming in, BDMLR medics and the Cornwall Seal Group arranged for a climbing team to assist Tamara, Animal Care Supervisor, and Tim, BDMLR Area Coordinator, to abseil down to the cove. Already a small group of seals had spotted the team and headed into the water, but luckily the netted seal had not noticed their presence. The team still did not know how many other seals were in the sea cave behind the seal and when these seals saw the rescuers they would almost certainly stampede into the water, possibly taking the netted seal with them.
As the team approached the far side of the beach this is exactly what happened and around fifteen to twenty seals stampeded towards the water. Luckily the netted seal had a very distinctive dark pelage and Tamara and Tim were able to easily single him out and block his route to the sea. Wrapped in a towel he was moved away from the other seals so he could be properly assessed. The netting had caused a nasty 1½ inch gash all the way around the neck and although it looked clean, could easily become infected if not treated. Despite the injury he appeared to be in good condition weighing a healthy 32 kilos. Tamara and Tim cut the netting off and placed him in a seal bag to haul him back up the cliff before placing him in a cage ready for the transport back to the sanctuary.
Tamara and Tim have the seal and heading towards the cliff - photo copyright of Sue Sayer of Cornwall Seal Group Tamara checks Riley is OK - photo copyright of Sue Sayer of Cornwall Seal Group Tamara with the netting - photo copyright of Sue Sayer of Cornwall Seal Group
Back at the sanctuary the Animal Care Team cleaned the wound, took blood samples and finally decided on a name; "Riley", after our local vet Paul Riley who is celebrating his 10th year working with the sanctuary.

Riley´s wound is healing quickly, but despite appearances his blood results suggested he was fighting an infection for which he is receiving a course of antibiotics as well as an anti-inflammatory. Riley is expected to make a speedy recovery and the team hope he will be ready for release within the next 6 weeks.
Riley
The sanctuary would like to thank the continued support of Sue Sayer and all the volunteers of the Cornwall Seal Group, the endless support and assistance from BDMLR Director Dave Jarvis, Area Coordinator Tim Bain and all the medics involved in seal rescue and monitoring, and the National Trust for their valuable information and assistance in all seal related matters at the cove.       Click here to read a BBC article / watch BBC Spotlight news coverage about Riley and his rescue.
Riley being released back into the wild Update: April 2009 - Riley along with Paul and Rosie were released back into the wild on 2nd April 2009.

Riley´s flipper tag number is 21 (red).
Riley being released back into the wild
Update: 27th October 2017 - Riley was seen at a local haul-out along the coast of Cornwall on 15th November 2010, 19th March 2011, 9th May 2011, 23rd November 2011, 31st December 2011, 7th, 13th & 23rd January 2012, 3rd February 2012, 3rd October 2012, 21st November 2012, 20th December 2012, 29th April 2013, 15th September 2013, 9th, 10th, 14th & 19th October 2013, 4th November 2013, 12th & 16th December 2013, 13th January 2014, 6th, 7th & 10th February 2014, 1st & 15th December 2014, 19th & 22nd January 2015, 2nd February 2015,
Photo of Riley was taken by Sue Sayer 25th May 2015, 24th September 2015, 1st, 5th & 26th October 2015, 5th & 23rd November 2015, 25th January 2016, 3rd, 7th & 10th November 2016, 8th, 19th, 22nd & 28th December 2016, 25th September 2017 and 26th October 2017 by members of the Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust*.

Photo left of Riley was taken by Sue Sayer of the Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust* on 15th November 2010.
*Members of the Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust volunteer hundreds of hours of their own time to photo, identify and watch over the seals around the Cornish coast.

Seal Pup Rescues Season - 2008/2009     BBC article / watch BBC Spotlight news coverage about Riley and his rescue