Cornish Seal Sanctuary Pup Protection Plea

During this half-term, thousands of people will be exploring the beautiful British coastline.

The Sanctuary is asking people to be aware that thought to be harmless activities can be life threatening to wildlife.

The Grey Seal pup season is well underway, and all around the coastline Grey Seal mums will be nursing their white coat pups.
White Pup
Mum and pup In order to feed, mums will leave their pups alone for up to four hours. This means that seal pups are vulnerable to the increasing danger of disturbance. Recreational activities both on land and in the water can mean that pups are disturbed by humans and this can lead to pups being separated from their mum.

White coat pups need to remain with their mums for 3 weeks in order to feed on their milk and mums can be frightened away by humans in the area - this can result in the pup not being able to eat which could be life threatening.
One example of this is rescued Grey Seal pup Mullet, who is currently being rehabilitated at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary.

Mullet was rescued on the 14th September 2018 by British Divers Marine Life Rescue from Trevaunance Cove - the very same cove where Ken Jones rescued his first seal pup.
Mullet Mullet was a male grey seal with a white coat, estimated to be 3 - 4 days old. There was nothing wrong with him, except that public were gathered around, disturbing the pup and preventing mum from coming back to feed him.

Due to the disturbance, it meant that a healthy, happy pup had to be brought in to go through rehabilitation at the Sanctuary as his mum was not able to get to him.
The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is pleading with public to follow the guidelines when out and about to prevent these unnecessary rescues:-

1. Do keep your distance
If a pup has a fluffy white coat, it still needs its mother. She will have spotted you long before you saw her and she will hopefully be watching from a safe distance out at sea. A mum will only return to feed her pup if she thinks it is safe to do so.

Mothers leave their pups for up to 4 hours whilst feeding. Remain calm and quiet. Try to stay down wind. No feeding.

All seals, no matter what age, can become stressed by human interaction. Always observe wild animals from a distance.

2. Don´t touch the pup
It is a wild animal with sharp teeth. A mother may reject her pup if it smells of people, so keep downwind and out of sight. Keep dogs and children well away.

3. Don´t put any seal back in the sea
A white coated pup spends most time out of water. All seals haul out onto land to rest, digest and socialise all year round.

4. Do take a good look from distance
If the pup is alone, thin, injured or seems unwell (noisy breathing, coughing, runny nose) it may need help.

5. Do something about it
Telephone Cornish Seal Sanctuary for expert advice on 01326 221 361.
Grace Jones, animal care assistant and conservation expert at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary said "Unfortunately, every pup season we encounter pups that have been disturbed by members of the public."

"When a young pup comes in due to being separated from their mum; myself and the team find it heart breaking."
Grace Jones
Grace Jones "Even though we are able to successfully release seal pups back out into the wild, it can be a very stressful process for them. It can be very scary being in an unknown environment, and at such a young age they can be even more sensitive and have increased stress levels. It can also put pressure on resources."

"Having a pup come in due to be disturbance and being separated from mum, can take up space in our hospital that could have potentially been used for a sick or injured animal."

Press Release issued by the Cornish Seal Sanctuary
For more details, please contact Georgina Shannon on 01326 221361
Issue Date: 22nd October 2018