Late night seal rescue, Cornwall - 25th October 2004

West Cornwall Coordinator Dave Jarvis was contacted by BDMLR Director James Barnett at around midnight of Sunday 24th/Monday 25th October about a grey seal pup that had been spotted on a public beach at Mousehole, near Newlyn, in the afternoon and was still there late in the evening. Dave contacted Coordinator Tim Bain, woke Medic Phil Jarvis and called in myself just as I was finishing my shift at work. It was agreed that Phil and I would go straight to the beach, while Dave picked up Tim and the cage from St Ives. During the journey, we called Marianne Fellows of the National Seal Sanctuary´s Animal Care Team to let her know of the situation.

Arriving at the site, we met the couple who had found and reported the pup, and, by torchlight, showed us where it was on the beach (which could have taken hours in the cold and the wind had they not so willingly obliged to assist us). It was high up on the beach, next to a path that skirts the top of the beach, frequently used by dog walkers. Despite being alert, the pup showed no intention of moving away from us as we approached, instead just lying amongst the rocks hissing and snarling at us while we assessed its condition. It was a moulted female pup, but we weren´t sure if she was weaned yet. She was underweight and had some minor puncture wounds to the rear half of her body, probably bite wounds. Dave and Tim arrived with the cage about 10 minutes later. We liaised with Marianne again and gave her details of the pup´s condition. It was decided that we would take the pup back to Tim´s for the rest of the night and bring her in to the Sanctuary in the morning.

Tim jumped the pup, and with Phil´s help, picked her up and put her in the cage. Between us, we carried her back up the steps to the road and checked her again under a streetlight, noticing a bleeding cut on the underside of one of her foreflippers. We then loaded her into Dave´s car and drove to St Ives, arriving at about 2:20am.

Once inside Tim´s flat, we decided to clean up the pup´s wounds and tube feed her fluids. However, she became too stressed and began coughing when we tried to get her out of the cage, so had to give up and left for the night. Dave, Phil and I arrived home not long before 3am.

At about 8:30am, I called the Sanctuary to let them know the status of the pup and to work out an approximate time of arrival. Dave and Medic Lesley Jarvis went over to Tim´s while I carried on down to the Sanctuary. Tim, Dave and Lesley, after another unsuccessful tube feeding attempt due to the same reason as above, arrived a couple of hours later. Curator Glenn Boyle and Senior Animal Care Assistant Tamara Cooper carried out the clinical assessment of the pup and found it to have a few more minor puncture wounds to its rear flippers and a tiny superficial wound on her left eye. Now named Wriggle, since she squirmed a lot during the clinical, she is now recuperating in an Isolation pen and is being treated for her wounds.

Medic Dan Jarvis
British Divers Marine Life Rescue
West Cornwall