Rockfall kills more seals on the haul out beach

Cornwall Seal Group members Sue and Trev were up at the haul out beach early on Wednesday morning, to check on the 5 day old pup and her Mum. Like the pups born earlier in the season, this pup Missee, was born just west of the cave, in an area Seal Group members had renamed the 'Creche'. Previously this part of the beach had been called 'Guitar's Cove', in memory of a seal that was killed there, along with 3 others, by a rockfall back in February.

To Sue and Trev's horror, they discovered that there had been another fairly small, but significant, overnight rockfall . The new rock debris was clearly visible, being more brown in colour and angular in shape, than the other boulders on the beach. A closer look revealed that a least two seals had been killed by the falling rocks. Both dead seals appeared to be adult males, but identification from the photo ID database has not been possible.

Recovering from the shock of the scene, Sue and Trev turned their attention to looking for the Mum and pup, but they were nowhere to be seen. The obvious concern that Sue and Trev shared with other Seal Group members at their meeting that evening, was that Missee and Mum may have been buried by the rockfall.

The following morning, Sue, Simon and Kate went our early, to search for the missing pair. A mature female was seen sleeping, partly hidden amongst boulders under the cliff, away from the fall, but there was no sign of a pup, although a few distinct pup calls were thought to have come from the cave area. After 4 hours, Dan and Lesley arrived to take over observation and monitoring duty. If that was Missee's Mum, she would eventually have to move to feed Missee.

Everyone was hugely relieved, when Dan and Lesley finally got a good look at Mum, as she moved towards the cave before disappearing out of sight. For just a short while, a pup emerged from the cave, meeting up with Mum to be fed. Photos of Mum have revealed that she is definitely Missee's Mum, so there is now no doubt that the pair have survived the rockfall! This is a small silver lining to what proved to be a very cloudy day!

Warning : Clicking here will reveal a photo of the rockfall scene, showing 2 dead seals.

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11/11/07