Sad end for a brave seal

seal at hope gap, seaford. Seal had to be put down
seal at hope gap, seaford. Seal had to be put down

The large grey seal at Hope Gap last week, was not the same seal which has been seen in local rivers recently which is actually a smaller common seal.

We spent over 30 hours dealing with this seal which was clearly very poorly and ill.

It was hoped the seal would move to a more suitable location so initially just monitored but after two tides it was clear the seal wasn’t going to move. Adult grey seals which can weigh up to 350kg are normally very dangerous and you shouldn’t go or be able to get anywhere near them.

This seal was letting people and dog walkers get right up close and to touch him. Thanks to vets from Beachwood Vets in Seaford, the seal was sedated and euthanased very efficiently, professionally and with the greatest respect for this amazing creature.

The biggest problem came when we had to remove the seal from the beach which couldn’t be left due to the drugs used, a joint effort by the Fire Brigade and Newhaven Coastguard saw the seal winched up the steps at Hope Gap and then transported to WRAS ambulance.

Thank you also to Alan Knight OBE of British Divers Marine Life Rescue for his help and assistance.

The Fire Brigade also helped out rescuer Keith deal with a badly injured gull caught up in a television aerial in Eastbourne last week. We have had several calls about birds in netting, and it is the building owners legal responsibility to maintain and deal with any birds which become trapped.

We also had a call to Uckfield High Street after a pigeon managed to get trapped under some netting but luckily it was fairly low down so ladders were not needed. Although badly entangled, the pigeon wasn’t suffering from any ligature wounds and was released after observations.

I would like to apologise to anyone we weren’t able to help last week, our phones have been very busy and due to a few people being on holiday or off ill things have been a struggle, but we have still managed to keep on top of over 80% of all calls this week.

Due to the long hours and little time off I became ill last week and ended up having to take a day off. So I apologise for any inconvenience caused.

I hope that one day someone will have enough funds, or someone leaves us a large gift in their will, or makes a large enough donation that we don’t have to worry so much about funding and can take on a couple more part-time employees to make the service more reliable.