We slow down for Christmas, just for a couple of days, even at the National Trust! For Christmas day this year I decided to take an early morning walk on the beach, as soon as the tide was low enough to get onto it, so at just after 10 I was there with the dog.
No-one else there, no footprints on the sand, clambering over the rocks and dodging the waves. After a few minutes of throwing a tennis ball for the dog and walking along the sands, we got to a pile of rocks and pebbles above the high tide mark, which I always explore for any old washed up tennis balls.
The dog loses as many as I find.
And there, at the top of the pile of rocks, was a small white ball of fur..
This year there have been a large number of seal stranding along our coastlines, and the following guidelines have been given in case you find a seal in a situation like this — please make a note of these contact numbers — you never know when you might need them!
IF YOU DISCOVER A SEAL PUP and it is alone and appears in distress, the actions which you take may mean the difference between life and death for the animal
DO keep your distance – If the pup has a fluffy white coat it still needs it’s mother. She will only return to feed her pup when she feels it is safe to do so.
DON´T attempt to handle the pup – It is a wild animal, it may bite and can carry infectious diseases. The mother may reject the pup if it is handled.
DON´T attempt to put the pup in the sea – It may be out of the water for a good reason.
DON´T ignore the situation – If the pup is thin, injured or seems unwell (noisy breathing, coughing, runny nose) it probably needs help.
DO tell an appropriate organisation – Telephone the Cornish Seal Sanctuary on 01326 221361, or your nearest RSPCA Officer or the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) team on 01825 765546 or 07787 433412 – Wherever you live around the world, check out your nearest rescue organisation. Be ready to get help when you discover an injured animal.
I called the BDMLR and one of their team came down to the (slightly off the beaten track) beach to check over the seal and relocate it if needed to the Seal Sanctuary in Gweek for some R and R.
But on this occasion this little seal was up and off before rescue arrived, given enough space it made a dash to the sea, and was gone…
We looked to see if it had come ashore further along the beach, on case it was injured, but it had gone. It might reappear, so please keep an eye out in case!
But I’m sure that it’s found it’s mother, who won’t have been far away, and is now back and safe at a nearby seal colony