Meet Liquorice: The rare grey seal pup rescued by the Cornish Seal Sanctuary

Wednesday, 08 February 2023

A rare grey seal pup has been admitted to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary after being rescued from a nearby beach.

Liquorice, who is estimated to be around 10 weeks old, is ‘melanistic’, which means she’s completely black from head to toe – something seen in just one in 400 grey seals.

She first came to the Sanctuary just over a week ago, when she was spotted by local walkers who called the Cornish Seal Sanctuary for help.

On arrival, the animal care team found she had breathing difficulties, a small wound and appeared to be very underweight.

Tamara Cooper, the Sanctuary’s curator, says, “It’s not often we see melanistic pups, especially female ones, and even rarer to see them coming through our own doors.

“Liquorice really needed some help after she was spotted quite high up on the beach, and it was quickly agreed she should come in.

“She’s a beautiful pup, and we’re pleased that she is now in the place where she can get the best care for what we hope will be a successful return to the wild.”

Melanism is caused when too much of the pigment melanin has been produced, and appears in seals by giving them black eyes, fur and nails.

The condition is even rarer in female seals, who are typically lighter in colour than their male counterparts.

Liquorice’s admission comes as the Sanctuary gets ready for February Half Term, with visitors now able to see her in the nursery pools.

General Manager Jana Sirova says, “It’s perfect timing to come and meet Liquorice. Not only do we have a number of events happening throughout half term, we also have our Local Annual Pass sale on which means any local families visiting us this February will receive a discount.

“It’s been a very busy pup season for our animal care team and there are plenty still here on site.

“With more than 40 pups already through our doors this winter, every visit makes a difference.”

The ‘Friend of the Sanctuary’ Local Annual Pass is available to buy until 28th February 2023 and is the charity’s ‘thank you’ to supporters from across the region every year.

With the pass, guests living within TR, PL or EX postcodes receive a discounted entry for unlimited visits within 12 months, as well as 20% off the café and gift shop (just don’t forget to bring proof of address on pick-up!).

To find out more, click here.