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Fears for costs of seal pup rescue season in Cornwall

Fears for costs of seal pup rescue season in Cornwall

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 6:12am 19th June 2020.

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary says it is concerned for the seal pup rescue season after the financial struggles of lockdown.

The centre in Gweek is reopening its doors to the public on Friday, with strict new social distancing measures in place.

It will be open three days a week via pre-bookings only.

It comes just weeks after bosses wrote an open letter to Defra, appealing for more help as it faced 'tremendous debt and an uncertain future'.

Every month, it costs £23,000 to look after all the resident seals at the sanctuary and it has been struggling to raise funds during the coronavirus pandemic.

General manager Jana Sirova fears this could have a knock on affect to the seal pup rescue season, which starts in the autumn.

Every winter rescue teams help seal pups around the coast and bring them to Gweek to recover. But the rehabilitation costs around £2,000 per pup.

Cornish Seal Sanctuary

"Although the Cornish Seal Sanctuary may be entering the new normal, the ethos and friendliness of this place will never change. And while reopening of the sanctuary will be an incredibly important milestone, we still have a lot to do.

"Being closed has had a major impact on us here at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. As a rescue centre for seals and other animals, our work is vital in supporting those animals in need and had to continue despite the current ongoing situation with Covid-19.

"Our running costs are substantial, due to ongoing care of our resident seals, many of whom have long term medical conditions that require expensive medication. It costs us a minimum of £23,000 a month just to look after our animals; this does not include other running costs such as utilities, insurance and non-animal related essential staff costs.

"Our supporters have been paramount in keeping us going day to day by donating through our Seal Appeal and social media.

"These key months we have spent closed are essential in securing our operation in winter months, when our pup rescue season is taking place.

"Each rescued seal pup costs us on average £2,000 to rehabilitate and with 70 seals rescued each season, the costs stack up.

"On top of this, we have some major essential on-site works with regards to our pools that we desperately need to undertake in order to keep our animals safe and happy which will lead us further into debt that we are currently incurring as we came out of last pup season straight into lock down.

"The road to recovery will be long, but we have faith!"

Cornish Seal Sanctuary

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary

What changes are being made at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary?

  • Full COVID-19 risk assessment in place
  • Introduced capacity restrictions to ensure we can adhere to social distancing regulations, pre booked tickets only with timed arrival
  • Social distancing guidelines information for guests
  • Enhanced cleaning regime and provided hand sanitiser stations around the site
  • Installed protective equipment to keep our staff and guests safe
  • Temperature checks and staff PPE
  • Staff training

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