Fundraiser launched for new hospital in Cornwall to help poorly seal pups

A fundraiser has been launched for a new hospital for seal pups in Cornwall.

The fundraiser is being led by British Divers Marine Life Rescue due to increasing number of seals at risk.

Dan Jarvis, welfare development and field support officer of BDMLR said: “So BDMLR has had a temporary seal holding unit for 10 years now to help cope with times when there are lots of seals coming in during a short space of time, for example, after storms, and when space runs out at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary and RSPCA West Hatch.

“We outgrew our unit some years ago and it’s also a running battle to keep on top of maintenance issues as well, so we’ve reached a point where we are in a good potion to upgrade to a bigger and better custom-built facility, which will make life easier for us in so many ways.”

Dan said this is the “biggest project” BDMLR has been involved with and they’re aiming to raise around £80,000 to fund the endeavour.

He continued: “We’ve managed to make up a good chunk of this from other fundraising efforts and grants over the last year, so now we are on the final push and will be launching a Crowdfunder this Friday (today) to try to get as much of the remainder as we can over the next few weeks to see the dream become a reality.”

The target of the fundraiser is for £25,000.

Dan added: “As well as being a better facility for holding pups and providing temporary care until they can move on to one of the other rehabilitation centres, we’re also planning to have a classroom space where we can run training sessions, which is something we’ve not had ourselves before, so there are lots of exciting developments for us as well as the seals.”

The existing seal unit is based in South East Cornwall, however, Dan said he couldn’t reveal its exact location or the new one, so they can continue to remain secure.

The team mainly look after grey seals from around South West England.

Another poorly seal pup rescued by the charity
Another poorly seal pup rescued by the charity
(Image: BDMLR)

So far, the hospital has admitted over 550 seal pups who would otherwise have had nowhere else to go in their time of need.

Dan said: “Although we are lucky enough to be able to see them relatively easily around out coastline they are actually one of the rarer seal species in the world with only around 350,000 individuals and found only in the North Atlantic ocean and Baltic Sea.”

The UK is home to around 38 per cent of the world’s population, which means it’s even more important that we continue to conserve and protect the species.

Vera the seal pup was rescued by BDMLR
Vera the seal pup was rescued by BDMLR
(Image: BDMLR)

According to Dan, climate change is increasing the number of storms happening in the region, which is directly affecting the mortality and breeding success of these animals.

Meanwhile, as our population continues to increase so do the number of disturbances from humans, which is only escalated as Cornwall grows in popularity as a tourist hotspot.

Since the rescue season started, which was at the beginning of September, BDMLF was called out to 374 times for the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly region, and 96 seal pups were taken into temporary care.

For more information about BDMLR and how to volunteer click here.

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