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WATCH: First seal rescue of the season off Cornwall

First Pup Rescue of the Season Morwenna

4:10pm 13th September 2017
(Updated 4:10pm 13th September 2017)

A tiny seal pup rescued from a west Cornwall beach has been christened after Cornwall's favourite TV show.

Little Morwenna, aptly named after a character from Poldark, was the first casualty to be taken in by the Cornish Seal Sanctuary earlier this month.

The day old pup was plucked to safety on 2nd September after local wildlife volunteers spent a day watching out for her mum.

It's after the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) team were called by a concerned member of the public as she had been sat on the beach crying for some time.

And after monitoring her for several hours, the BDMLR and Sue Sayer from Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust decided that she needed help.

Sue and Tamara Cooper, the curator at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, abseiled down to the beach and brought her back up to the top.

On closer inspection, they realised she was just a tiny and baggy, furry bundle of bones.


Tamara said: "We knew straight away that the pup needed rescuing and this might be our only chance to save its life.

"I was easily able to immobilise the pup with a towel and assess its condition.

"Fortunately its temperature was normal and it had no obvious injuries, so Sue and I bundled it into the seal rescue bag and carried it back across the beach".

Posting on its Facebook page, Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust said: "Something was wrong. I knew it as soon as I arrived, as the pup I was looking at was very active (hauling all over the beach) and vocal (repeatedly calling for its mum to come and feed it) - two red flags. It had been doing this for at least five hours" said Sue".

They continued: "Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust's founder, Sue Sayer, herself a trained Marine Mammal Medic, had been dispatched to assess the seal pup reported by a member of the public to British Divers Marine Life Rescue hotline.

"It was now or never, as weather forecasts meant that there would not be another rescue window for at least 36 hours and this unfed pup would not have survived that long.

First Pup Rescue of the Season Morwenna

"Sue was joined by Tamara Cooper - Animal Care Team Leader from the Cornish Seal Sanctuary - and the difficult decision was taken to rescue the pup.

"With the help of Dave and Lesley Jarvis and rope expert Phil Knight, Sue and Tamara abseiled into the cove to find the tiny and baggy, furry bundle of bones still calling for its mum.

"Next came the hard part - getting the seal safely back to the clifftop with minimal distress. Sue wore the seal rescue bag like a rucksack, but despite having climbed for decades, this was the first time she had been required to ascend with a 12kg moving, howling seal pup strapped to her back".

Sue said: "I have to say I really struggled to even get off the ground as I was aware of not wanting to overbalance and bash the seal pup on the rocks. My technique wasn't great and my arms were pumped by the time I reached the top of the rope. What a relief!"

Watch more footage from the rescue...

Once Morwenna was up, experts made a quick assessment, where it determined she was a one day old female, otherwise in fair health.

Tamara said: "She is being fed every four hours and the team are just starting to introduce her to fish soup, to ensure she is gaining weight correctly" said animal care Curator Tamara Cooper.

"She will be looked after in our indoor hospital for a few weeks, but as soon as she is feeding for herself she will move to the outdoor nursery pools."

First Pup Rescue of the Season Morwenna

With up to 60 pups expected each year, staff at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary like to plan ahead with the names of the new pups.

This year's theme takes an exciting twist, with a focus on characters from the popular BBC drama Poldark.

They say once the team meet the new arrivals, they have a pretty good idea which name belongs to which pup.

Now, which pup will land the title of the fiery Demelza or the sulking Aiden Poldark...?

4:10pm 13th September 2017

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