12,000 welly changes and 50 pups – the Cornish Seal Sanctuary signs off pup season!

Thursday, 25 May 2023

The results are in as the Cornish Seal Sanctuary shares its latest figures for the 2022-23 pup season – highlighting another busy winter with the team working hard to rescue, rehabilitate and release grey seal pups from around Cornwall’s coastline.

The Sanctuary, which sits on the Helford Estuary at Gweek, near Helston, has been rescuing pups from around Cornwall (and beyond) for more than six decades, with hundreds of pups in need of urgent care making their way through the Seal Hospital.

Through this season, which usually runs from September – March, a total of 50 grey seal pups were treated by the animal care team, with an incredible 86% release rate.

With the first pup arriving on site in August, and the last released at the end of April, it was a longer season than usual, covering multiple issues – from malnourishment and respiratory disease to entanglement.

Curator Tamara Cooper says, “It’s been another busy pup season for the team and I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to achieve.

“Our main mission as a charity is to support this incredible marine species, and to provide a permanent home to those who can’t be released back to the wild.

“As we end this season, we’re now prepping for the next one – and every donation counts.”

Through the season, the Sanctuary spent almost £10,000 on vet visits, £17,500 on drugs and a total of 6,000 staff hours caring for the pups across the site.

However, supplies also add a significant cost, with the team using more than 3,200 needles and almost 7,500 iron and vitamin tablets to help nurse pups back to full health.

Other key stats include:

Team welly changes


Total rescued


Total released


Female pups


Male pups


Maternally-dependent pups


Youngest pup






Respiratory disease




No. of weighing sessions


The Sanctuary also worked with local vets Head & Head, based in Helston, for several major surgeries, including a successful flipper amputation and several eye removals.

“We can’t do what we do without the generosity of the public, ensuring we can help to support more grey seal pups for years to come,” Tamara adds.

“A huge thank you to everyone who has supported us this season, and don’t forget to find out what you can do to help for the 2023-24 season later this summer.”

Support Our Sanctuary

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary’s rescue, rehab and release project is all about saving grey seal pups from around the Cornish coastline.

Each year, the charity will see an estimated 50-70 pups come through the doors from September to March, with care for each pup costing an average of £2,000 - £3,000.

To find out more about the Cornish Seal Sanctuary and its mission, click here. You can support this pup season by donating to the team’s Wishlist Appeal here.