Harbour Seal Rescued at St Leonards, East Sussex

At 1am Friday morning I received a called from a lady on St Leonards beach, East Sussex via East Sussex WRAS's rescue line. I alerted Alex Levine BDMLR's Out of Hours Co-ordinator and a text message was sent out to BDMLR medics across East Sussex. Local experienced Medic Stephen Marsh got dressed and headed out whilst myself and partner Kathy Martyn drove across from Uckfield.

We arrived on site about 2am to find that a member of the public had picked up the juvenile Harbour seal and had it sat on his lap! They had tried several organisations for help and was told leave the seal on the beach and check in the morning. They were so concerned about the seal and did not want to leave it they called a local veterinary centre who gave them the number of WRAS.

Myself and Stephen Marsh made the seal secure whilst we did a thorough assessment. There were several puncture marks to the rear flippers, tail and one to the left shoulder plus a slight swelling to the upper left lip and a small amount of blood on the nose. Stephen took the seals temperature which was recorded as 100.8F which is higher than it should be.

It was now 3am, the seal was in need of veterinary assistance, we were unable to contact the local wildlife centre so we took the seal to the nearest emergency vets who was only able to give the seal an antibiotic injection. We decided to contact BDMLR Chairman Alan Knight - now about 3.30am - and drove to his home where he kindly helpd me tube the seal and agreed for East Sussex WRAS to take the seal in overnight. Kathy and I then drove to WRAS's unit where it was placed in one of their veterinary kennels with a wet blanket on the floor. Kathy and I returned home at about 6am!

It was a long night but when I checked the seal a few hours later it had perked up a lot and was quite feisty. I had received a message from Richard at RSPCA Mallydams Wildlife centre who said that they could take the seal. I drove to their centre where I was met by their vet and staff who kindly took the seal in and tubed it with more fluids. A more comprehensive assessment was carried out before giving further medication to the seal.

I then departed for Bournemouth to continue with the assessment of the Northern Bottlenose whale that BDMLR Medics were monitoring.

My thanks to Stephen Marsh, Kathy Martyn, Alex Levine, Alan Knight and RSPCA Mallydams.

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Press Contact: Trevor Weeks, East Sussex WRAS, 07931 523958

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