Cornwall is one of our busiest regions in the country for calls to seal pups.
Since 2010, BDMLR has not only been rescuing pups from around the South West region, but also taking them into our own specialist hospital facility whenever the region’s larger rehabilitation centres are at full capacity. It acts as an essential ICU and overflow, providing temporary, emergency care for seal pups before they move onto larger facilities, where they complete their rehabilitation and get ready for release. Each pup’s care has always been under the direct supervision of veterinary surgeons experienced with seals, and supported by a fantastic community of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure pups are kept comfortable, fed, and clean.
As the numbers of callouts to seals continued to increase year-on-year, so did the number of pups requiring urgent care. This placed enormous pressure on our existing facility, with resources being stretched to their limits and volunteers working around the clock to keep our standards of care high. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we finally reached a critical point and realised that expansion was necessary, and so began to form plans to purpose-build a new, specialist seal hospital in 2021.
The new ‘BDMLR Cornwall Seal Hospital’ opened in September 2021, after a mammoth effort to raise the required funds and complete the build in time for the start of the grey seal pupping season. BDMLR is hugely grateful to every single person who donated funds (whether big or small), materials, time, and labour to help us complete this monumental challenge.
The new hospital has more than doubled our capacity, allowing us to care for up to 10 seal pups at a time. The pups are housed in a light, well-ventilated environment with spacious pens and individually controlled heat mats – allowing us to tailor the temperature to each pup’s needs. Cameras allow our veterinary team to monitor the pups even when off-site, and a new range of equipment (including blood machines, microscope, and an ultrasound machine) have drastically increased our diagnostic capabilities in-house. This helps us ensure each pup receives the correct treatments they require to recover.
A documentary about the hospital is now complete and can be found on BDMLR’s YouTube channel or at the top of this page.
We also have a classroom to use for training volunteers, and giving talks and workshops to small groups. One of our aims is to be able to utilise the knowledge we have acquired from our 12 years of experience to help seal pups not only in the Southwest but across the country by training key BDMLR volunteers from other areas.
Keeping our protocols up to date with the latest research is very important to us, and we regularly communicate with other seal rehabilitation facilities to ensure we maintain the very highest of standards.
So far, we have admitted over 600 seal pups since we began back in 2010. We are extremely proud of what we have achieved over the years and are excited to see what the future holds! Please note, our facility’s sole purpose is as a working hospital and we aren’t able to accept visitors. However, you can follow our work and the pups on social media as we are keen to engage, so feel free to get in touch and ask any questions (see below).
Follow us on social media
Our hospital’s Facebook page helps us raise awareness of what we do, and during the grey seal pup season you’ll find lots of information about our inpatients! To view the page and give us a ‘like’ please head to: https://www.facebook.com/BDMLRCornwallSealHospital. Please send us a direct message if you have any questions and we’ll be happy to answer them.
Make a donation
If you would like to make a donation specifically for use by the seal hospital, please visit our JustGiving page at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bdmlrcornwallsealhospital
Our ten seal pens are available for sponsorship on an annual basis by individuals, groups, or businesses. They provide a really exciting opportunity to support a local cause in Cornwall, working to improve the health and welfare of our coastlines amazing, and globally rare, grey seals.
Pen sponsorships are one of the most important sources of income for the hospital, and help us to purchase our general equipment and supplies, fish, and veterinary medicines for the pups- as well as things like our utilities and building maintenance which are of course absolutely essential!
Pen sponsorships are available for a donation of £1000 and last for 1 year. Pen sponsors receive a personalised plaque over their seal pen, a tour of the hospital and a chance to meet the seal pups, regular updates on seals staying in their pen, shout outs on our social media and, for groups and businesses, the offer of a talk by BDMLR introducing them to the work of the charity.
If you are interested in finding out more about sponsoring a pen or have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteering at the seal hospital
All of our hospitals volunteers must be fully qualified ‘BDMLR Marine Mammal Medics’. You can become a medic by completing one of our courses, more information is available under the ‘Courses’ section of our website. Each summer we advertise internally within BDMLR for any volunteer positions which have become available at the hospital, in preparation for the start of the grey seal season in September.