seal pup season

Pup season 2023/2024

Tuesday, 09 July 2024

Feeding seal pups cost the Sanctuary a whopping £21,500 this pup season.

(…A very pricey fish supper!)



The Cornish Seal Sanctuary shares its latest figures for the 2023-24 pup season – showcasing another busy winter with the team working hard to rescue, rehabilitate and release grey seal pups from around Cornwall’s coastline.


Highlighting the somewhat eye-watering cost of feeding the pups this season during their rehab, Curator Tamara Cooper comments;


 “We have seen a total of 63 sick and injured pups coming through our doors this year, up 26% on last year; that’s a lot of mouths to feed!

As part of our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint here at the Sanctuary, and support the local economy, we make every effort to source fish for our seals from local suppliers. This season the cost of feeding our pups came in at just over £21,500.”


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.


This pup season has been much longer than usual and saw the teams looking after pups with multiple issues – from malnourishment and respiratory disease to worms and entanglement.


Pup season usually runs from September – March, however this year the Sanctuary saw the first pup arriving on site on 18th August and the last will hopefully be released in the next couple of weeks.


Curator Tamara Cooper continues, “It’s been an extremely busy pup season for the team here in Gweek and I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to achieve. The rising cost of fish and the current economic climate have certainly made our work challenging this year. We’ve also seen a big rise in the number of poorly pups admitted to our seal hospital, which has stretched us to our limits.

With lots of other activity on site during the pup season; including the arrival of ten rescue puffins from our Sister Beluga Whale Sanctuary in Iceland, and sadly losing one of our lovely residents Ray, the Animal Care team here have been rushed off their feet!”


The charity’s main mission 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 the 2023 pup season nears its end and the teams prepare for the imminent arrival of the next – every donation really does count.


Our pup season in numbers….


Total number rehabbed: 63

Total number released: 55 = 87% success rate

Youngest pup = 1 days old

Wounded = 44%

Malnourished = 42%

Respiratory disease = 30%

Ave. total rehab time = 2 months

Females: males = 30: 33

Total no. of weighing sessions = 975 sessions

Total no. of hours spent rehabbing pups this season = 7,560hrs

Total no. of wound cleaning treatments administered = 2,600

Total no. of worming treatments given = 187

Number of towels used: over 400!

No. of team welly changes for the season = 15,000!

No. of vitamin tablets given out = 5,600 tablets

Cost of fish used (mackerel, herring) = (£21,500)



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.

You can help support the Sanctuary by sponsoring one of next season’s seal pups, or a even a pup pen or nursery pool. Every donation helps us to rehabilitate and release seal pups in need.