Sad passing of our Dearest Ray
It is with a heavy heart that the Cornish Seal Sanctuary have announced the passing of our dearest Ray.   It is never easy to lose one of the family but with Ray it is especially difficult.   He was such a big character and meant so much to all of us here at the Sanctuary, and we know that you all adored him just as much.

In the last month Ray required several procedures for a historical condition and although he was making slow improvements, unfortunately, he did not recover as well as we had hoped.   Despite huge efforts from the team and the veterinary support sadly it wasn´t enough, and he passed away on Sunday evening (17th March 2024).
RayHandsome Ray
A Tribute to Ray!
Ray was rescued by the Sanctuary back in 2001 at just a few weeks old. He was such a character from the moment he entered the hospital.   Looking back through his hospital records there are comments like "there´s something different about Ray", and there certainly was!   He had behaviour that indicated possible brain damage, had not an aggressive bone in his body, visual impairment and an under active thyroid which would require life-long medication to keep him healthy. From this moment he became part of the Sanctuary family.
Ray the famous seal celebrates his 18th Birthday - Photo taken in 2002Ray the famous seal celebrates his 18th Birthday - Photo taken in 2006
Over the years Ray´s character really blossomed and he had a knack of endearing himself to all. He was a laid-back boy who loved to sunbath and lounge upside down around the pool, often with one flipper in the water gently flicking water on himself to keep himself cool. He was playful and loved to play with running water from the hose, or chase fish poles around the pool during the team's enrichment sessions with him; not forgetting how he loved to hold hula hoops and toys under his flipper and carry them around like a handbag! He also loved his pool partners, especially his favourite female Sheba.

They could often be seen lying together on the haul out, and never far apart during breeding season.   Sheba clearly adored him, although sometimes a little frustrated that he seemed to have absolutely no idea what he should be doing at this time of year!   Ray also had a big impact on Banana who seemed to idolise him when they lived together; she would use him like a raft to float around the pool and it seems she might have even picked up some of her stranger habits from him!
Get well soon Ray!
Although Ray did appear to have some degree of brain damage and visual impairment it didn´t stop him from learning. With a few little adaptations to his husbandry training, he was able to learn as much as the other seals, he just sometimes needed a few extra reminders of what he had learnt the previous day! But Ray always tried his very best for the team and put all his trust in us, it was a such a special feeling. Watching Ray burst out of the pool on to the haul out (sometimes misjudging and bumping off the edge back into the pool) was the highlight of every session!

We often referred to Ray as a little "goofy" because he always appeared to have a little smile on his face. But it was his pure, happy, trusting heart that shone through to all. Ray was our calm when things got crazy, he was our source of laughter when you needed a smile, he was totally and utterly our Ray of sunshine.

In the last month Ray required several procedures for a historical condition. Although Ray was making slow improvements, unfortunately, he did not recover as well as we had hoped and despite a huge effort from the team and our veterinary support sadly it wasn´t enough.

Ray you were one of a kind. To say you will be hugely missed doesn´t seem enough.   The Sanctuary will undoubtedly be a little less without you. Rest easy x
Ray January 2023Ray - January 2024 Ray, Grey Seal - August 2017Ray - October 2018

Here is Ray´s Story
RAY, a male grey seal, was picked up from Widemouth Bay on the 12th of October 2001, approximately three weeks of age.

He was fairly malnourished and found at the top end of the beach, as far away from the water as possible with his nose pressed up against the side of a rock face.

When he first arrived at the sanctuary it was apparent that his behaviour was a little different to the other pups.
The Animal Care Team are monitoring him closely to see how he reacts with other seals and how well he competes for his fish. He is very quiet and brain damage has not been ruled out, the vet also drew attention to the shape of Ray´s head, which is very different to the other pups.

It may be that Ray suffered trauma to this area as a pup, possibly crushed by an adult bull? Further tests revealed he is brain damaged, so he has been given a permanent home at the sanctuary.
RayRay in 2001
The staff made Ray a very special fishy birthday cake and share some toys with his pool partners.

He had the best time celebrating his 18th birthday (as did the team!).

Ray´s Happy 18th Birthday Video - Autumn 2019.

A short video of Ray chilling on the side of the pool.

Click here to see a selection of photos of Ray via our flickr account.
Ray the famous seal celebrates his 18th BirthdayRay the famous seal celebrates his 18th Birthday
Happy Birthday Ray!
Ray has been part of the Sanctuary since he was just a pup and his story is a heart-warming tale of resilience and love.   From a tiny pup washed ashore after a storm, to his forever home at the Sanctuary.

Ray loved to spend hot days playing with the sprinkler, often chasing the water jets and trying to catch the water in his mouth. He was also very good at leaning a flipper over the edge of the pool and splashing himself when sunbathing (talk about a hard life).   Ray´s weakness was that he can never resist a scratch from the broom when the animal care team come to clean his pool.

Ray´s wonderful personality shined brighter than the sun. Ray loved it when his ice birthday cakes were made by the Wonderful Animal Care Team.
Happy Birthday Ray

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