Cornish seal sanctuary rescues first pup of the season

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary has welcomed its first pup of the season after a challenging summer for the charity.

Parsley the pup was rescued at just a few days old, amid fears that she was starving alone on a small beach near Portherras Cove, West Cornwall.

Volunteer medics from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) monitored Parsley for 24 hours, in case her mother returned.

She was then transferred to the Head & Head Vets in Helston last Thursday (August 18) after roaming the beach alone and calling out for food.

Vets found she was likely born just a few days before, with her umbilical cord attached. She weighed just 10.3kg- less than the standard 14kg for a newborn pup.

Parsley arrives at the Sanctuary Credit: Cornish Seal Sanctuary

The rescue has come at the end of a difficult summer for the sanctuary, as rising bills and inflation has meant fewer people are visiting and donating.

According to Visit Cornwall’s latest trends, visitor attractions have been hit the hardest, as people are choosing free days out to save money.

Jana Sirova, manager of the sanctuary said: “It has been a tough year for many families, charities and businesses, as we’ve seen lots of budgets being tightened to accommodate the hit of cost of living right now.

“However, as a charity, we need all the support we can get to ensure we can continue to care for these beautiful marine mammals, like Parsley, around our coastline for years to come.

“Whether it’s donating to this year’s pup season appeal, visiting our site or even sharing our social media posts, every little helps.”

Parsley is being cared for in the sanctuary’s Seal Hospital, where she will receive night feeds, care and monitoring until she can be released back into the wild.

On average, it costs around £2,000 to rescue and rehabilitate a seal for release, funded by donations and visits to the sanctuary in Gweek, Helston.

The sanctuary monitors the pups on a 24 hour basis Credit: Cornish Seal Sanctuary

Tamara Cooper, Curator at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, said: “Bringing pups into the sanctuary is always a last resort.

“Though they will receive expert care from our team, the best thing for a pup is to spend as much time with its mother as possible - it’s never an easy decision to take a pup off the beach.”

Last year the sanctuary took in more than 50 pups through autumn 2021 and spring 2022.

The charity advises beachgoers to stay away from pups on the beach and to keep dogs on leads.

If a seal is in distress, the sanctuary urges people to call the England and Wales RSPCA hotline, on 0300 1234 999