Extreme weather continues to take its toll

There seems to have been some improvement in our recent weather, but for some this comes to late. Already heavily saturated cliffs are left loose and unpredictable. Relatively small sections have given way all along the north coast and they do so with no warning. On arrival at the haul out beach this week, we saw yet another rockfall on the mainland haul out beach and it was with a heavy heart that I peered at it through my binoculars.

Location of fatal rockfall on the left of the photo - previous recent rockfall visible on the right too (below)

The new rockfall, just opposite one that had occurred a couple of weeks before, now occupied part of the seals' favourite haul out area of beach. Not surprisingly then, there were dead seals! :o( Two could be seen on the edge of the fall and more might have been beneath it. My only hope is that they were killed instantaneously in their sleep meaning they will not have been aware of their fate.

Dead juvenile surrounded by rockfall debris (left) : Possible adult seal presumably killed in its sleep (right)

Please do be careful out there and look at cliff edges for recent movements and changes before approaching. The large cliff collapse in 2011 occured after warning rips and tears in the grassy footpath had appeared. Look for signs of fresh soil or holes and cracks in the ground. You can never be too careful. Of course this is not the first time that cliff collapses have killed seals and you can read some of the evidence we have collected of these by following these links Nov 2011; Oct 2011; Nov 2010; Feb 2007; Nov 2005 - and these are just the ones that have appeared on our website. It is interesting to note that these have all occur in the autumn and end of the winter.


Cornwall Seal Group are extremely grateful to all their members who volunteer hundreds of hours of their time to photo ID and watch over the seals around the Cornish coast, especially at pup time! If you would like to support the work of Cornwall Seal Group by helping to fund surveys such as this, you can email sue@cornwallsealgroup.co.uk to arrange to send a cheque or a contribution via your bank.

Return to archive news

Return to home page