Wildlife Trust Respond To Criticisms Over Dead Seal

The seal pup photographed by Todd Stevens on Tuesday

The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust have said they are not responsible for coordinating the rescue of stranded marine mammals on our beaches.

This follows an incident on Tuesday in which a baby seal, spotted alone on Old Town beach, was later found dead.

Islander, Todd Stevens, says he expressed his concerns about the animal to the Wildlife Trust on Monday, while it was still alive and he, along with others, have posted negative comments about the actions of the Trust on Radio Scilly’s Facebook page.

But the Trust have responded, saying that, while they care deeply about the welfare of our marine mammals, they are not an animal rescue centre, and are not open 24 hours a day to take rescue calls.

However, Jaclyn Pearson from the Trust said their answer machine gives vital contact numbers and advice for those finding stranded mammals.

She says anyone finding a live, stranded whale, dolphin or porpoise should call the British Divers Marine Live Rescue (BDLMR) in Cornwall immediately on 01825 765546 (www.bdlmr.org.uk) who are open 24 hours a day.

The BDLMR will coordinate trained volunteers to check the mammal and assist with any rescue measures required.

If a live seal is found and appears to be in distress, you need to call the National Seal Sanctuary in Cornwall immediately on 01326 221361 who are also open 24 hours a day.

Both organisations will want to talk to you directly to ascertain exact location, symptoms of the animal’s health and general behaviour.

Jaclyn adds that many WLT staff and volunteers, including the islands’ vet, Heike Dorn, are trained as stranding volunteers and they are contacted directly by the BDLMR or National Seal Sanctuary.

She says this is the time of year when seals give birth across the islands and unfortunately some of the pups may become stranded due to various natural factors including rough weather.

Also whales, dolphins and porpoises can become stranded across the islands.

Jaclyn says if a dead marine mammal is found then vital information needs to be gathered from the specimen to ascertain cause of death and threats to population survival.

You need to call Cornwall Wildlife Trust Strandings Network on 0845 201 2626 (www.cwtstrandings.org) who will coordinate volunteers from the marine strandings network to record data and liaise with Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust to contact the correct land owners to remove the body if necessary.

Finally, Jaclyn says these numbers are given on the 24 hour answer phone at the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust office on 01720 422153 and on their website at www.ios-wildlifetrust.org.uk.

6 Responses to Wildlife Trust Respond To Criticisms Over Dead Seal

  1. steve January 21, 2012 at 2:23 am

    Phillip you don’t need to call the wildlife trust at all, call the national seal sanctuary direct and they can coordinate the local volunteers on the isles of scilly. We have been over to the islands to train locals, including the local vet, who incidentally responded in this instance after a call from the wildlife trust. If you or anyone else is interested in volunteering please contact the seal sanctuary at gweek as they are always on the lookout for more help. The local volunteers on scilly have been very successful at rescuing seals in the past – don’t lose sight of this fact. I have been a strandings volunteer in Cornwall for a long time and handling seals is not to be taken lightly as a bite can be very nasty, contact the seal sanctuary when you find a seal in distress as they alone have the expertise, training and equipment to help. Unfortunately you can’t save them all as death is part of life and intervention isn’t always the kindest thing.

  2. Rich January 19, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    This is an absolute disgrace and the WLT should be ashamed of themselves. I guess if it doesn’t have 4 legs and eats grass then it’s not profitable for them to keep alive!

  3. Philip downs January 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    I think that the WLT should apologise to Todd and Carmen they are obviously upset about the situation, I think people might have some respect for the WLT if they do this.

  4. Todd Stevens January 18, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Clearly, the WLT need to revise their system for this kind of thing. We only had the phone number of the WLT with us at the time and naturally thought they were the correct people to call anyway- as Im sure most people would too. As the WLT did not seem overly concerned during our call, as to the general position of this seal, as a consequence of this, we thought they must know best and we left. The seal did seem to be okish to us- tired, misplaced maybe, but ok. However, as we left, our feelings were that the WLT really should have turned out immediately, if only to asses the situation and make a judgement. Maybe then the end result may have been different and not have become so contraversial for them. Dont tie people up in phone calls to the mainland, who will then “hopefully” get somone back over here to come out -just turn up yourselves if called and sort it out-afterall, seals are wildlife too and team member is rarely ever more than 5-10 minutes away.

  5. Jay-Time January 18, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Aww, it had a face like a puppy, LIKE A PUPPY.
    I feel like a puppy has died, someone should pay for this.

  6. Philip downs January 18, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    So in otherwords you need to call the Seal Sanctuary, and they will contact the Wildlife trust !