Finally, something positive to report on the story of our little Shoreham Seal. Our visitor appeared again at the lighthouse this afternoon; seasoned seal watcher Iain was there to see him arrive and was able to make contact with BDMLR to report this and send them on some pictures of his current state. Beanie and Peter joined him a short while later; and under instructions from BDMLR they were tasked with observing his behaviour, but asked not to approach in case we needed to capture him on this occasion. Last week, you’ll remember that he was seen to have a red/orange line hanging from his mouth as well as a hacking cough and lots of discharge from around his oral/nasal area. The cough had become worse over the 24 hours that succeeded that and our concerned grew; although on subsequent occasions the "line" has not been seen again. BDMLR had serious concerns also about the potential implications of lungworm (the other explanation for the red/orange "line" hanging out of our seals mouth last week). In seals it is common for them to have a low burden of these parasites, but from time to time that burden increases and the affected animal starts to show symptoms such as coughing and loss of condition. As those of you who have been following our post will be aware, we had a period of 2-3 days over the weekend where our fantastic group of seal watchers failed to catch a glimpse of him/her at all, and our concerns had grown. However, today we were rewarded with the most fantastic sight (confirmed as our seal by the tag on his rear flipper) an altogether brighter and slightly chunkier chap(ess) wobbling up the slipway to lay in the sun. This time no sign of any discharge from his/her mouth/nose, no visable "line" and in the two hours stood with him/her only heard to briefly cough twice. Gayle called and spoke to BDMLR directly and reported what had been noted in his demeanour and general appearance today, they were keen for a few observers to stay and watch from a distance just to see that we hadn’t caught him/her at a good point. I’m happy to say that things continued to look really positive and eventually he wobbled back off down the slipway and back into the water where he approached some canoists and hung around for a little while looking back at all these nosey people that had come to spy on him! So, the plan for the coming days and weeks is to ask that everyone gives him his space, but observes from a distance to see that his progress continues. I am having dialogue with an experienced zoo and exotics vet as to the best way we can treat him/her for lungworm; and I will action this appropriately. In the meantime, provided all is well, there is no longer the need for people to report his sightings to British Divers Marine Life Rescue (they will very much be there if we need them). We would still ask that the greater public are aware that they should not be trying to touch him and that human food is not a suitable diet for a seal. Enjoy him and look out for him, but appreciate that he is a wild animal.
For the time being our thanks go out to Iain and Roxanne Brown, Beanie Bridle RVN, Carla Finzel RVN, Michelle Jackson,RNLI Shoreham, Shoreham Port, Sean Stones @wyld: photography and to Southwick Print Limited for sorting us out our hi-vis vests; and to everyone else who has liked, commented or shared our posts over this time. We will continue to keep you updated with any news and would welcome contact from anyone with any concerns about our beautiful visitor.
P.S I’ve added a donate button in case anyone who has followed our post feels they may be in a position to recognise the support given by BDMLR throughout this. They are entirely staffed by volunteers but have been on the phone around the clock to support our efforts. Thank you x
P.P.S He (or she) shall henceforth be known as Jack ….after Jack Sparrow in homage to his pirate patch😉 … See MoreSee Less