IT WAS a dramatic final weekend at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary at Gweek for senior animal care assistant Clare McGowan.
Bidding farewell after more than six years, Miss McGowan marked her departure by helping complete the first pup rescue of the new grey seal breeding season.
An anxious coastwalker spotted a seemingly abandoned pup at Lushington Cove Beach, Porthtowan.
Miss McGowan raced to the scene and, with Dave Jarvis, from British Divers Marine Life Rescue, assisted a fluffy two-day-old white-coated pup – subsequently christened Paloma.
Paloma, who still had her umbilical chord attached, is now settled in at the sanctuary's hospital where she will receive intensive care until fit enough to move into an outdoor convalescent pool.
"It was nice to be involved in one more rescue before I go," said Miss McGowan.
"It has been hard work, but a real privilege to help rescue so many abandoned, injured and sickly seal pups over the years."
She is returning to her native Lancashire, hoping to continue caring for animals.
Her colleagues, meanwhile, had a second pup rescue later that night, a female named Lulu, aged three weeks.
The sanctuary's Eileen Keeling said: "The awful weather last winter and in the summer resulted in a casualty tally of 62.
"We're all hoping for the seals' sake as well as that of our animal care team, that this winter proves a little less hectic."