Thursday, 7 May 2015

More seals saved from the threat of ghost fishing nets

Many marine wildlife groups working in Cornwall often get calls about sighting of seals who are injured, or entangled in fishing gear, or marine litter. 

More seals saved from the threat of ghost fishing netsOver the last month, British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) and the National Trust received several calls about a seal entangled in lost fishing gear but despite repeated search attempts by BDMLR, the seal in question could not be found. A concern to all as injuries from entanglement are known to end the life of a seal prematurely. 

On Saturday 25 April another trip was undertaken to find the stricken seal and when the groups arrived at the beach they found not one, but two entangled seals, one on the beach at the West Cornwall haul out and another out to sea. 

Despite facing rain and slippery rocks, the team from BDMLR, Cornwall Seal Group and a rope safety adviser abseiled down a 45m cliff to the beach in order to save the seals, whose injuries would have certainly lead to their premature death. 

Seals are spooked by humans very easily and can move incredibly fast over land, so the rescuers waited cautiously until both seals were on the beach, out of sight from the abseil point and in a position that they could be reached before the seals were aware of human presence. 

With years of experience in handling marine mammals, the team were able to free both the seals from the dangerous netting and rope and after assessing their condition they were able to release them safely back into the sea. 

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