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How to help Cornwall’s seals

Have you ever come across a stranded seal on a beach walk and wondered what to do?

Grey seals can pop up almost anywhere along our coastline, and at any time of the year.

If you fancy a spot of seal spotting, take a stroll along the coast path and you may be lucky to see the head of a grey seal pop up. A visit to Newquay Harbour is a good bet and seals are often to be seen begging from the fishing boats. They are very curious creatures, and will often lift their heads out of the water to see what anglers are doing on the rock marks. You may even find yourself swimming within a few feet of one off if you venture into the sea. If you want guaranteed close-up sightings then you can always visit the Cornish Seal Sanctuary at Gweek.

But what do you do if you spot a seal that seems to be in distress?

Our friends at the Cornwall Seal Group have the answers. They’ve come up with the handy guide below that you can take a picture of on your phone and carry with you, just in case you run into a seal when you’re out and about enjoying Cornwall’s coastline.

Seal emergency contacts

Email sue@cornwallsealgroup.co.uk about the seals you see around the southwest. Helpful info that you can give includes the number of seals you’ve spotted in the sea or on land, the date and location. A photo will give Cornwall Seal Group even more information.

And if you live in the South West, you can even join their team of routine surveyors by counting seals at your favourite seal site at least once a month, every month. This builds up a picture of the seasonal pattern of seal habitat use, which is vital information.

You can also help the group with their campaign to find solutions to the global issue of lost fishing gear, support fisheries that adopt seal-friendly practices including no shoot policies, raise awareness about marine life disturbance, and help to limit the impact of plastic, chemical, pharmaceutical and noise pollution on all marine life.

Treat yourself or someone you care about to one of the group’s wild seal adoptions. For £15 you get a welcome letter, silver adoption certificate, a profile of your chosen seal, a glossy photo seal collage, an information pack about grey seals, ideas about where to get more information about seals, postcards, leaflets and a range of seal activities. Become a friend of a wild seal and get a gold adoption certificate, all of the above, plus a seal photo ID starter kit.

Any money you donate to the group will be spent on furthering its charitable aims of researching, communicating about, and conserving seals.

For example – £10 buys a memory card, £30 a pair of binoculars; £60 funds an experienced surveyor or the writing of a survey report;  £100 buys a range of merchandise for the group to sell at a profit; £350 gets us a superzoom camera – the cornerstone of the group’s work, or life jackets for a boat survey team; £1000 prints leaflets that the group can distribute for free, or pays for a single boat survey along the north coast; £10,000 pays for a year’s worth of boat surveys.