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Marine Life & Conservation

Trapped seal rescued from death in race against tide

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Medics from British Divers Marine Life Rescue in Cornwall faced a race against time and tide yesterday when an entangled juvenile grey seal was found trapped in between boulders at a remote location near Sennen.

The stricken animal was initially reported by a member of the public who had luckily spotted it from the coast path to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary near Gwenver beach, and the details passed on to BDMLR to respond to. Two volunteer Marine Mammal Medics attended, as at this point it was not yet known the animal was actually wedged in place and unable to move. When they arrived they found it very difficult to get a safe supporting grip around the animal to pull it free, with only its head and front flippers accessible.

Image: Constance Morris

Urgent help was called in, as the fast incoming spring tide was quickly coming up towards them and would submerge the seal in under two hours. Five more Medics raced to the scene along with the Land’s End Coastguard Rescue Team with more equipment to help.

With the tide coming up around them, the team on site were now desperately fighting to get the seal free before it drowned, using ropes and other tools to prise and haul it out. With minutes to spare she finally slipped free, completely exhausted from the ordeal and with little energy left. She was put into a seal bag and safely retrieved back up the boulders to the coast path and then taken around the the Coastguard’s truck where she got a ride back up to the top of the cliff.

Image: Dan Jarvis

From there she was transferred to a cage and taken to the BDMLR Cornwall Seal Hospital for veterinary assessment and care for the severe entanglement wound that was 4cm deep at its worst across the back of her neck, though luckily it largely free of infection. She now starts an arduous period of recovery and rehabilitation.

Following the rescue, colleagues at Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust photo-identified her from their catalogue as a young juvenile first spotted in December 2018 at a nearby seal haul out beach. Cornwall Area Coordinator Dan Jarvis commented “unfortunately as many of these sites are completely inaccessible she has never been able to be rescued previously, so it is fantastic to know that she has now been freed and is in safe hands after two years waiting for an opportunity. It also helps us age her at a minimum for 4 and a half years old, meaning that at her rescue weight of just 44kg she is severely malnourished and less than half the size she should be. The team have named her ‘Hattie Jacques‘.”

Image: Dan Jarvis

The next 48 – 72 hours will be the critical time for Hattie’s recovery and we all have our fingers crossed that she will pull through her traumatic experience yesterday. In the meantime a huge thank you to all involved in yesterday’s rescue efforts!

For more information about British Divers Marine Life Rescue, or to make a donation, visit their website by clicking here.

Header Image: Delia Webb

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… Brendon Sing, Director of Shark Guardian (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Brendon Sing, Director of Shark Guardian, a UK Charity working for shark and marine conservation worldwide.

Brendon Sing is from South Africa and has been diving and researching sharks for over 25 years. Whilst achieving the highest qualifications in the scuba diving industry, he has been leading participants on shark diving expeditions from Africa to Asia with a strong focus on conservation, education and research. Together with his wife Liz, Brendon created Shark Guardian as a UK Charity in 2013. His goal is to inspire everyone worldwide to protect sharks – our ocean guardians. Shark Guardian has four main operational arms including (1) Conservation activities and campaigns, (2) educational programs and developing materials, (3) Research through citizen science and (4) shark diving expeditions.

Find out more at www.sharkguardian.org.


Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Australia plans to create world’s next two big marine parks

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The Australian Government has announced plans to establish two new marine parks around Australia’s spectacular Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands!

These will be the world’s next big marine parks, providing crucial protection to globally significant marine life in an area twice the size of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands are uniquely Australian and globally significant – there’s nowhere like them on Earth.

Most famous for its annual red crab migration, Christmas Island is one of David Attenborough’s 10 natural wonders of the world. Its thriving rainforests, deserted beaches and fringing reef provide a haven for unique and rare seabirds, land crabs and marine life.

The Cocos (Keeling) Islands are Australia’s best-kept secret – our unspoiled tropical island paradise! Sitting at the top of an ancient sea mountain encircling a beautiful tropical lagoon, their azure waters are home to an incredible array of diverse marine life including tropical fish, corals, turtles, manta rays and dolphins.

Located thousands of kilometres north-west from Perth, in the vast Indian Ocean, there are few comparable unspoiled tropical island environments left in the world.

Creating world-class marine parks will provide crucial protection for a wealth of marine life, make a significant global contribution to the health of our oceans, and bring much-needed benefits to the people of Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

It’s essential that the government embraces and respects the aspirations of the island communities, working collaboratively with them to co-design these marine parks. Healthy oceans and sustainable fishing are central to the local communities’ way of life, their culture and their livelihoods.

Help Save Our Marine Life Australia grow the movement to support these new marine parks for Christmas and Cocos – Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories – by spreading the word on Facebook.

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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