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Conservation

Record Number of Seal Pup Rescues

At the Cornish Seal Sanctuary

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is Cornwall’s only sanctuary and rescue centre. Ken Jones, the founder of the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, rescued his first seal in 1958. The team there rescue, rehabilitate and release sick and injured seal pups from around the Cornish coastline with the help of donations from the public and funds raised through the SEA LIFE Trust charity.

The numbers of seal pups requiring rescue in Cornwall appears to be increasing yearly. Typically, the Sanctuary rescues over 60 pups a year, however this increased significantly to 86 pups rescued during the 2017/18 season. The increase in rescues has meant the sanctuary has had to significantly develop the site to increase space to facilitate more pups, and has also had to expand their team.

Seal pups need rescuing for a variety of reasons. Storms can lead to pups becoming over tired, struggling against the waves and currents. They can get smashed into rocks causing life-changing wounds, for example a recent rescue Ray suffered severe brain damage and a flattened skull. Disturbance from too much human activity can also be an issue, scaring the mothers off, meaning she may not return to her pup. Pups that are separated from their mothers before they are ready might not be able feed themselves and face starvation or malnourishment.

And of course, marine litter is a big problem. The Sanctuary often sees seals that have become entangled in netting or other marine litter, or become unwell after swallowing pieces of plastic.

Those pups that cannot be released are offered a home at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. Seals will stay if they have long term medical issues, like needing to be on medication for life. These seals will remain with us under the expert care of our animal care team, who can provide a safe and happy home for them and are able to attend to their needs.

February 2019

Cornish Seal Sanctuary rescue pup

c Asa Samuel

Cornish Seal Sanctuary rescue pup

c Asa Samuel

Merlin Entertainment