Warning against seal disturbance as Cornish Seal Sanctuary celebrates first release of new season

Friday, 28 October 2022

A grey seal pup found injured and starving to death on a Cornish beach has been successfully released back into the wild, after receiving expert care at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary.

The pup, named ‘Curry’, was the first to leave the Sanctuary this season after being rescued from a west Cornwall beach last month.

Volunteers from British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) were initially called to assess him on 10th September, and it was quickly decided he would need to be transferred into the care of the Cornish Seal Sanctuary.

However, on arrival, he was found with a heart drawn around him in the sand, demonstrating how close members of the public had come to the pup.

 As a result, the Sanctuary is now reminding people to keep their distance if they spot a pup on the beach.

Tamara Cooper, Curator for the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, says, “Getting too close to a pup on the beach can result in abandonment by the mother, who may be watching from the water, and can be fatal to the pup.

“Pups also need time to rest and conserve energy,  so getting too close can result in them being frightened back into the water, which can cause them to waste precious energy and be injured – particularly if they are startled off rocks.

“That’s why it’s incredibly important that, if a pup or seal is spotted, dogs are immediately put on a lead and everyone stays as far away as possible.

“While we don’t believe this was the case for Curry, we do ask that, even if a pup looks like it needs help, people continue to give them space.”

Following his initial vet visit and move the Sanctuary, Curry was found to be malnourished and dehydrated, with a high temperature. He also had ulcers in his mouth, an injury to his right flank and a large swelling on one of his joints.

At just three-weeks-old, he needed all the help he could get.

However, with the support of the Sanctuary’s animal care team and their vets, Head & Head in Helston, Curry made a speedy recovery, leaving the charity at a healthy weight of 34.5kg on 25th October to start his second chance at life.

Tamara says: “We are so pleased to see our first successful release of the new season, and, as with every release, it’s always a proud moment for our team.

“Caring for these incredible animals is our core mission, alongside supporting our year-round residents. It will no doubt be a busy season ahead, so any help we can get to buy pup supplies will be much appreciated.”


So, what can you do if you find a pup on the beach?

Beachgoers are advised to keep dogs on leads and children away, and not to approach or chase the seal back into the sea.

If you believe the pup is in distress or needs medical attention, you can find the signs to look out for and what to do next. You can also call the Cornish Seal Sanctuary on 01326 221361 or the  BDMLR 24-hour hotline on 01825 765546 for more advice.

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 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 the new pup season by donating to the team’s Wishlist Appeal here.