'Predicting Seal visits' : Seal Group Meeting 7

The latest Seal Group meeting was held on Wednesday 2nd March 2005 at Sue's house. We missed 2 of our group members and thought of them enjoying themselves on holiday in New Zealand. Maybe they'll even read this!

If you would like to become an active member of the Seal Group, have any information for us, want to ask us a question about the seals you see or just want to say you support what we are doing, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us by emailing ssayer@suesseals.eclipse.co.uk

Agenda items included

  • Predictions for individual seal visits
  • Reports - Net entanglement and Volume 3
  • Monitoring and managing disturbance
  • Feedback - CSMOG, BDMLR, NSS, CWT & Stephen Westcott
  • Resources
  • Website ideas
  • Talks - seal and fishing gear.
  • AOB

From studying our data

  • we have been able to use the information we have about previous individual seal visits as a model to predict future visits. The early indications from January and February suggest this approach may be successful, but a big effort is needed over the next 12 months.
  • we are beginning to realise that there may be a significant difference in the types of seal visits to Godrevy during the Spring and Autumn peak haulouts; the Spring visits being made by mainly migrant seals and the Autumn visits being made by mainly regular seal visitors!

There is a lot of work still to do on this!

We have recently submitted a report via the BDMLR (British Divers Marine Life Rescue) to MARC (Marine Animal Rescue Coaltion) on seals entangled in net. About 8% of local seals exhibit this type of injury, which may be high compared to other areas. We have even read that as many seals in the SW may die from entanglement as are born each year, We look forward to getting feedback from the MARC meeting.

Observation of seal disturbance continues and two new threats seen since our last meeting include jetskis (6 were seen in the bay at one time) and microlights. Our records will form valuable baseline data for the future. If you see the seals being disturbed in any way, please do not hesitate to ring 0845 777444.

Caroline is preparing a report on seal strandings around the Cornish shores to summarise patterns and causes. This will then be examined by relevant experts. If you see a dead seal, please report it quickly to the Strandings hotline on 0845 2012626.

The BDMLR have bought a rescue boat for the South West and fundraising has been stepped up to buy the accessories needed. If you would like to make a donation, please visit the BDMLR website ( http://www.bdmlr.org.uk )

The rescue season for the National Seal Sanctuary seems to be over with the last rescue taking place on February 1st. 6 seals have recently been released with yellow hat tags. If you see one, please ring 01326 221361.

We are hoping that this year will see us linking up with seal enthusiasts and researchers from other parts of the country to share seal ID photos, as a result of the work being pioneered by Stephen Westcott.

This area is part of an SSSI within the AONB. The grey seals come under the protection of this status. We are now aware of the actions that would be considered likely to damage the special interest of this area, so we can monitor these.

Seal Group members will be giving a talk about the seals and guiding a walk to visit them for the National Trust on Sunday 13th March. Another request has come in from Kehelland School, who have 'Guardian of Godrevy' status. Many thanks to Sara Dowler for organising these.

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