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Woman rescues over 700 seal pups in Cornwall

Tamara and seal - 2013
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10:09am 15th October 2017
(Updated 10:09am 15th October 2017)

Staff revealed one member has helped care for more than 700 rescued seal pups... as a Cornwall rescue centre gets ready to re-open it's refurbished seal hospital.

Tamara, who is orginally from Nottingham, joined the Cornish Seal Sanctuary back in 2001 - and is now the curator.

During her time there, she has been part of saving the huge number of grey seal pups that come through the door - with more than 90% being successful returned to the wild.

seal sanctuary cornwall

With a lifetime love of animals, she has always been interested in their welfare.

She started by studying at Brackenhurst Agricultural College and later completing an HND course in animal science at university.

And it was after she spent two-weeks doing work experience with the sanctuary back when she was 20 that she knew what she wanted to do.

She said: "I loved working with farm animals, especially horses, but even at that early stage I knew it was a career with wild animals that I really wanted."

After her work placement, Tamara then went on to gain a BSc in animal science at Sparsholt Agricultural College in Hampshire.

seal sanctuary cornwall

And it was following a year's travelling in Australia and New Zealand, where she had a close encounter with a leopard, that she took up her first post with the animal care team in Gweek.

But of all her rescues, she says one has stood out the most.

Tamara said: "There have been so many highlights and memorable experiences but one that stands out was the rescue of hooded seal Sahara."

Sahara was rescued in 2006 from the coast of Morocco, more than 1,000 miles south of his natural home on the Arctic ice-pack.

He was flown to the Sanctuary where a mission was organised to transport him all the way up to the Orkney Islands for release.

It was hoped he would make his way back home from there, but instead he turned round and swam all the way back to southern Spain - from where he was returned to the sanctuary and this time given permanent residence.

seal sanctuary cornwall

She said: "I will certainly never forget Sahara, but what I am most proud of is the way the sanctuary's reputation as a world authority on seal rescue and care has continued to grow.

"The Sanctuary is not only regularly consulted by other wildlife attractions around the world, it has also become known as a leader in pioneering surgery - performed by our own local vet and experts from the International Zoo Veterinary Group.

"We are now frequently asked by other facilities if they can send their own seals and sea lions here for lifesaving operations.

"With the Sanctuary about to celebrate its 60th anniversary next year, I am looking forward to exciting times ahead and to rescuing and rehabilitating hundreds more sick, orphaned or injured seal pups in the future."

The Sanctuary will also be celebrating the launch of their newly refurbished seal hospital on October 17th, which has had £50,000 pumped into it to improve the facility.

In her own time Tamara can often be found enjoying a spot of paddle boarding and is also gradually trying to walk the whole length of the Cornish coastline... so is seldom far from a seal!

10:09am 15th October 2017

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