Wildlife in Cornwall has taken a battering in the relentless storms with “an unprecedented number” of dead birds, dolphins and seals washing up on the coast.
Dead sea birds including puffins, razorbills and guillemots, gannets and cormorants have been washed up all along the north and south coasts according to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust (CWT).
The charity said seals in particular were struggling, with many of this year’s new pups being found stranded, injured, weak and often dead on our shores.
CWT said 29 birds, 14 seals and 9 dolphins were recorded dead on the shores of Cornwall in the last four weeks.
Niki Clear from the charity said: “The relentless storms hitting our coast have had a cumulative effect on animals which can usually cope with bad weather but are now on really low reserves and sadly are dying in large numbers.”
A seal pup was thrown clear of the sea in the recent storms in Cornwall/
Sue Sayer from Cornwall Seal Group said: “Many of the autumn pups have been separated from their mothers by the huge seas and of those that have weaned, many that are exploring the seas and learning to feed are suffering injuries such as broken jaws from being thrown against the rocks.
“The high tides and stormy conditions have meant that many of the beaches the seals use to rest and recoup are covered with water, and there have been reports from around the county of young seals being washed into ridiculous places, up cliffs, into harbours and even into peoples gardens.”
The British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) team responds to live strandings of marine animals and have been exceptionally busy this winter.
David Jarvis, director and Cornwall area co-ordinator of BDMLR said: “Since December we have had over 100 rescue call-outs, the vast majority of these have been to seal pups. In a typical year we would expect approximately 150 call outs in a whole year.”
Storms are preventing seals from getting much-needed rest on the shore and animals are getting tangled in the debris being washed ashore.
Members of the public are asked to report any strandings on the 24-hour number 0345 2012626.