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Grey seal 'Molar' makes a comeback off Dorset

Molar has reappeared off Portland after disappearing from Cornwall Credit: Sarah Hodgson

A grey seal who disappeared after being spotted in St Austell Bay in Cornwall two years ago has finally reappeared.

The female named 'Molar' was spotted at Portland Bill in Dorset this week. Distinctive markings on her neck make her easily identifiable.

She's the first seal to be photo ID'd in both Cornwall and Dorset. Recording seal movements enables conservationists to learn more about how far and frequently they travel and how best to protect them.

Two years ago, when I photographed Molar, I was sure she’d be recognised again, but then she disappeared for two years. Now I am delighted to see her again and for her to be our first Cornwall to Dorset seal link.

Molar proves that our photo-identification project really works and is a fabulous, non-invasive way of monitoring the lives and movements of our seals.

– Rob Wells, Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust (CSGRT)


Gerbil in a bad way after being dumped with bins

This gerbil is very poorly indeed and its companion died after being dumped in Newquay Credit: RSPCA

Animal welfare officers in Cornwall are caring for a gerbil which they describe as 'barely alive' after being left out with the rubbish.

A man found a cage in a bin shelter on Mayfield Road in Newquay yesterday, 11 October. Two gerbils were inside, one barely alive and the other sadly already dead. There was no food or water with the animals.

The survivor is very skinny and unwell.

RSPCA wants to hear from anyone who recognises the pets or who knows what happened.

  • Anyone with information can ring the RSPCA appeal line on 0300 123 8018.

Baby gibbon is a first for Paignton Zoo

The baby pileated gibbon - the first to survive at Paignton Zoo Credit: Miriam Haas

A new baby has been announced at Paignton Zoo - and staff are hoping it will be their first breeding success with a rare primate. The latest arrival is a pileated gibbon, an endangered species from south east Asia. Pileated means capped, and refers to the darker cap of fur commonly seen on both sexes.

Mother Shukdi is 9 and was born at Zoo d’Asson, France. Father Hantu is also 9, and came to Paignton Zoo from Zurich Zoo. The pileated gibbon is a primate in the gibbon family. The species shows sexual dimorphism - males have black fur while females have pale fur with darker head and belly.

Mother Shukdi holds her new baby Credit: Miriam Haas

The pileated gibbon is found in parts of Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. Like other gibbons, the species lives in trees. They form monogamous pairs, swing through the trees on their long arms and eat mainly fruit, leaves and small animals.

“This is Paignton Zoo’s first surviving pileated gibbon baby – I’m really pleased, as we have been trying to breed this species for 15 years, but alas our previous female was not a good mother.”

– Neil Bemment, Paignton Zoo
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