CSGRT’s 2019 review
I am still pinching myself. What an incredible year it has been! 2019 was a landmark year for CSGRT and grey seals everywhere.
All of this has been made possible by our amazing funders, who we cannot thank enough: National Lottery Heritage Fund, People’s Postcode Lottery (Postcode Local Trust), Natural England, TEVI, LUSH cosmetics, TESCOS Bag of Help, Seal Protection Action Group, World Animal Protection, National Trust, Polzeath Marine Conservation Group, Aspects Holidays, Mungo Lils on the Hill, the Bowgie Inn, SeaChangers, Three Bays Wildlife, Hayle Lions and our incredible volunteer fundraising efforts and donations.
Here are our headlines:
In 2019 we played a highly active ambassadorial role for seals on our patch and beyond, delivering: 65 free talks, 67 free stalls and events, 27 free training sessions – directly to at least 12,097 beneficiaries of all ages and backgrounds.
In just this one year, we had 3794 survey records (that is 10 a day, every day!) from 376 volunteers in 20 photo ID hubs who processed 120,743 photos resulting in 8722 seal identifications. On the flip side, during 164 hours of systematic ‘human and seal interaction’ surveying across 4 sites in Cornwall, we recorded high levels of seal disturbance – on average once every 14 to 29 minutes.
All this data formed the evidence we needed to give seals a voice, which we did at 2 meetings with the ‘Seals and Seabirds Policy Advisor’ at DEFRA – in Cornwall and at the Home Office in London, 9 public consultations affecting the marine environment and 93 meetings with our partner organisations, volunteers and members of the wider community. We continue to work alongside 4 global organisations.
Just before the end of 2019, we picked up a reconstructed ‘Augusta’ – the first pup of the 2018 season who sadly died at just 3 days old. Her skeleton has surprised us all and investigations are ongoing. Septimus (our 2.4m male grey seal skeleton) ironically had a life of his own, visiting the Science Museum in Bristol, Mevagissey Museum and spending 5 weeks in Lundy requiring him to return to the sea and take to the air!
And our seal ID work continues to reveal new secrets about grey and harbour seal behaviour with ‘Micky’ visiting Cornwall from Holland 650 km away and ‘Tulip Belle’ having at least 4 pups in the Isle of Man 450 km away, to where she routinely commutes from Cornwall. We were devastated to discover adult female ‘Legs’ had become seriously injured after becoming entangled in monofilament net and worse still, we sadly said goodbye to four known seals in 2019 adult male ‘Eight Horns’ and young adults, yet to reach their prime, ‘Lobster tagine’, ‘Fright night’ and ‘Boo’.
We hope to make 2020 another incredible year for grey seals, protecting them on our patch and giving them a voice.
In 2019, we developed our business acumen as we know that we need to self generate funding more effectively to sustain the future of our work with seals, so we now have: An industry standard business plan and financial tracking / forecasting system, An online shop https://sealresearchtrust.com/ , A wild seal supporter scheme allowing you to follow real seals and their real stories in real time! https://sealresearchtrust.com/pages/wild-seal-support-pack
Please support us, so we can help people help seals by sharing our seas successfully.
News page photo – ‘Let’s make this pup’s future brighter’: Banner photo ‘Logo’ sleeping peacefully whilst we work our socks off!
We are also hugely grateful to all our inspiring volunteers who give tirelessly of their time and all our partner organisations who have made many of these events and discoveries possible, including British Divers Marine Life Rescue, the Cornwall and other Wildlife Trusts across the region, the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, RSPCA West Hatch, the local Marine Conservation Groups and out partner organisations in seal research across the UK and globally. Every single one of you made a difference! We just have to do it all over again (and more) in 2020 thanks to our major funders going forward – National Lottery Heritage Fund, Peoples’ Postcode Lottery Postcode Local Trust, Natural England, LUSH and TEVI! THANK YOU ALL!