Recently, a worrying amount of seals have become stranded across the coast of Cornwall and the reasons for the strandings are currently unknown.
During the months of October and November, 72 seals found themselves stranded on the Cornish coastline, with nearly half of them washing up dead. The number of strandings are nearly double what is usually expected this time of year by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and they are stumped as to why the strandings are occurring. The stranded seals that have died have been studied or autopsied to try and gather more information as to what is happening, but so far the experts are totally stumped. Whilst some of the strandings may be due to weather disruption, there is no explanation as to why the numbers are so high this year.
Grey seals, Halichoerus grypus, can be found across waters British and Irish and due to their large population numbers, are considered Least Concern on the IUCN Redlist. However, Caz Waddell of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust says this isn’t the case worldwide; “Many people don’t realise that grey seals are actually an endangered species worldwide, and we are incredibly lucky to have them around our shores. Britain currently has over a third of the entire world’s population, and this of course means that we have an international responsibility to help in their protection and conservation”.
Although the seals are currently of the highest concern, it is not just the pinnipeds which are causing worry. 80 deceased dolphins, porpoises and whales have been attended to by the Marine Strandings Network. Along with 2000 seabirds, tonnes of jellyfish and fish, 3 turtles and a basking shark, these numbers are extremely alarming.
Gunwalloe beach sported two female grey seals in very shallow waters, three dead fish and countless washed up cuttlefish on Christmas Eve. Scenes like this show that there is an issue with our marine creatures and the reason for the strandings needs to be determined as soon as possible.
If you come across a stranded creature, it is best to stay away from it. Instead, contact your local Wildlife Trust, the Marine Strandings Network on 0345 201 2626 or the British Divers Marine Life Rescue on 01825 765546 for assistance.
Cornwall Wildlife Trust http://www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/
Marine Strandings Network http://www.marinedatacornwall.org/Strandings
British Divers Marine Life Rescue http://www.bdmlr.org.uk/index.php
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