‘Commuter’ disentanglement

📷 Andy Rogers

On Sunday 14 January BDMLR Medics in Cornwall, in collaboration with surveyors from the Seal Research Trust, managed to successfully remove a plastic ring from around the neck of an adult grey seal named Commuter after six years of suffering.

Medics were contacted by SRT surveyor Andy Rogers after spotting Commuter at his local haul out site with a relatively small number of other seals, and an outgoing tide. After assessing the circumstances and logistics involved, urgent preparation for a rescue attempt began.

BDMLR Area Coordinator Dan Jarvis stated: “when our team of Medics arrived, circumstances were perfect. It was low tide, meaning access was at its easiest for us with all the equipment we needed, including a cargo net, herd boards and a stretcher. We had Medics assist Andy on the clifftop raising awareness of what was happening to prevent further disturbance incidents, while a team of six Medics stealthily accessed the cove.”

“As there were still a few other seals on the beach, we had to focus on Commuter as the group became aware of us approaching and began heading for the sea. Using the cargo net we blocked his escape, while a herd board was used to safely keep two other adult males away from him and the rescue team. After a standoff, we were able to wrap Commuter in the net to slow him down, then placed the stretcher on top to safely restrain him so his entanglement and injury could be assessed.”

The team snipped off the plastic ring from around his neck (a carelessly discarded anti foul paint tin seal) and assessed the wound. Thankfully the plastic ring hadn’t cut as deeply as had been feared and the wound was cleaned out and Commuter deemed fit for release.

Commuter was freed and took off into the water at a rate of knots! He didn’t go far, as he was soon spotted bottling (resting) in the water just offshore, apparently no worse for wear from his ordeal and hopefully feeling substantially better without his constant neck compression.

Please see the attached Press Release below.


📷 Julian Larbalestier