Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust (CSGRT) has issued some advice now that seal pup season has started.
The first grey seal pup of the 2018/19 season was reported on Samson on around August 20th. This sighting is not yet confirmed as photos are needed to distinguish between pale juveniles during their first annual moult and maternally dependent pups under three weeks old whose longer fur is bright white.
Cornwall’s first pup was reported a week later, but "sadly washed up very freshly dead in St Ives Bay at just a few days old", said Sue Sayer of CSGRT.
She added: "Cornwall Marine Strandings Network called out Dave Jarvis from British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) who waited patiently for the rough seas - most likely the cause of the pup’s separation from its mother - to wash the body inshore.
"Too good an opportunity to miss, Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust volunteers removed the pup’s body in the hope that one day they will have sufficient funds to get its skeleton reconstructed (to compare its size and structure to that of their already articulated adult male Septimus)."
CSGRT's advice is as follows:
WHAT TO DO do if you come across a SEAL PUP?
DON’T approach or touch and NEVER put a pup back into the sea
LOOK for injuries
BACK OFF out of sight of the pup and its mum in the sea
WATCH for mum offshore
If you are concerned, ring BDMLR 01825 765546 (put this number in your PHONE)
BDMLR will send a trained Marine Mammal Medic to ASSESS the pup’s situation and condition before deciding on the best course of action.
Support CSGRT: VOTE at www.hairstory.com (bottom of home page) or buy a pin badge from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about seals in Sue Sayer's regular column in Scilly Now & Then magazine.
The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust also has guidance on what to do if you see a stranded or dead seal pup on its website.