Ground breaking eDNA
Sue Sayer from Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust (CSGRT) first heard about environmental DNA (eDNA) back in 2012 at a European Cetacean Society Conference in Galway. It was a very exciting and truly ground breaking, non invasive survey method that would be a game changer in marine research.
So, when CSGRT were approached by Alex Hayward and…
Food for Thought
Let’s all learn from Box’s horrific injuries and life threatening experience!
PLEASE WATCH our film ‘Food for Thought’ explaining why it is important to do the ‘TOUGH LOVE’ thing and NEVER FEED wild seals!
For more on Box’s story with photos, please click here AND click here or read our summary below.
We first met adult female seal…
Beauty and plastic beasts
Despite challenging conditions, Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust (CSGRT) volunteers have been out on two day long boat surveys covering 80+ miles of Cornwall’s north coast.
Our marine life and human impact surveys are gathering vital evidence of what is happening along our shores out of everyday sight.
Our volunteers are amazing…Read More
At the beginning of this year, we were excited to work on making some sealy activities. Primarily for use at the National Trust’s Lizard Watchpoint they will also be a great resource for our stalls and workshops.
Marion designed a few different games: Top trumps, ‘Memory’ and a ‘Seal Photo ID Challenge’ thanks to Alec and Enid…
Looe ID Hub
2018 will see the 10th anniversary of our systematic surveys that are done on Looe island! This was the very first team marine group survey that CSGRT undertook, making it a pioneer project for us.
The project entirely led and run by local volunteers started thanks to ‘Nelson’ the one eyed seal. Having spent a lot…
On the 7th of March, Sue along with Dan Jarvis from British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) joined Colin Speedie (Wildlife Safe – WiSe – founder) to deliver a WiSe training course in Padstow.
Sue has been updating the WiSe seal code of conduct recently and was honoured to be invited to give a southwest…
Touring mini exhibition
On week 9 of our Seal Squad XP Roadshow a very important part of our Touring Mini Exhibition arrived: our ten big informative display banners in frames and our new leaflets!
Many thanks to Tom at Attic Design and Print (http://www.attic-design.co.uk/) for researching and sourcing such amazing frames for us. They are easy to put…
At the beginning of October 2017, Marion attended the ‘Community Science in the Natural World’ conference organised in Plymouth by the National Marine Aquarium and the Community Seagrass Initiative. Having learned about some really exciting new engagement tools she came back raring to use them. This was especially true for ‘slido’ (https://www.sli.do/) a tool for…Read More
RSPCA West Hatch
The second week of February was quite busy with talks! After two evening ones for different WI groups (Germoe District and Mylor) we had the pleasure of travelling up to the RSPCA Wildlife Hospital at West Hatch to deliver an afternoon talk to the team there. Arminel (Scott) did a fantastic job of organising this…Read More
Meet our Patron!
Our first contact with Gillian Burke was during Springwatch 2017 for their piece on grey seals. We then met her at several local events and felt an instant connection with her through our shared values and ethos. We immediately decided that Gillian would make an excellent ambassador for our charity and we were absolutely delighted…Read More
Microplastics are here!
CSGRT volunteers were not surprised, but were still shocked by the findings of a recent paper by Sarah Nelms from our local University (the University of Exeter’s Penryn campus) on microplastics in seals. To cut a long story short, Sarah found half of her seals scat (poo) samples and a third of fish analysed contained…Read More
In April 2015 Rob Wells who routinely surveys the Roseland and St Austell Bay found the carcass of an adult male grey seal on the beach. This individual seal was recognised from photo identification as being Septimus White, a seal Rob had known for just over a year.
Septimus was retrieved after his decomposition had…
Amaze and Discover
Meet Marion our Amazement and Discovery Ranger who has been appointed to work on the Seal Squad XP Roadshow thanks to the exciting funding awarded to us by the Postcode Local Trust (supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery).
“My partner Rick and I moved to Cornwall in March 2016 to undertake 12 months…
Zillah’s diving seal panel
In the first week of 2018 we had an exciting visit from the lovely and very talented Zillah Robertson. She travelled all the way from south east Cornwall to us to bring an amazing piece of artwork that she had made specially for us!
The extraordinary panel featuring a diving seal is made entirely out…
Seal Squad XP Roadshow
This year Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust has received their biggest grant yet! The Postcode Local Trust awarded us a fantastic £19,300 to run our Seal Squad XP (Xplorer Programme) Roadshow in 2018. Thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, CSGRT will be able to have a dedicated Amazement and Discovery Ranger. We are currently…Read More
Cornwall is facing a seal pup rescue crisis. Partners CSGRT, British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), the Cornish Seal Sanctuary (CSS) and RSPCA West Hatch Wildlife Hospital are hearing about unprecedented numbers of underweight seal pups around the coast in need of rescue by BDMLR. With no spare capacity at CSS and RSPCA West Hatch, BDMLR…Read More
CSGRT global stage
As an evidence based conservation charity, CSGRT are keen to share research findings as widely as possible. Since the end of October, CSGRT has gone global reinforcing our key messages three times!
On 28/10/17 Elizabeth Hogan from World Animal Protection invited Sue Sayer to attend the Society of Marine Mammlology conference in Halifax Nova Scotia to…
Some days we create memories that last a lifetime. Today was one of those days.
It began with too little sleep and an early start…alarm at 4.30am and a drive to Padstow in the dark.
Joining our volunteer boat survey crew at dawn proved a turning point.
Award for CSGRT
The words of Cornwall Mammal Group…
The AGM at Ladock gave us a great opportunity to acknowledge one of Cornwall’s leading wildlife enthusiasts and to recognise the work she has done to help protect some of the most important international sites for the grey seal (Halichoerus grypus).
CMG has always tried to encourage an interest…
Box is alive!
Seriously wounded, a seal was slashed on her rear flippers by a boat propeller as she was hand fed in St Ives Harbour on 19/08/17. The adult female seal ‘Box desk’ (Box for short) was subsequently identified from witness statements and photographic evidence taken before, during and after the incident. Box had been encouraged to…Read More
We’re off – rescues 2017!
September has seen the sudden appearance of several beautiful white coated grey seals pups along our Cornish coastline. Along with the delight comes the inevitable concern, when one of these skinny little furry bundles appears without its mother.
This happened recently on a well known pupping site, so a member of the public did the…
Stop feeding seals!
“Horrifying and life changing” – that’s one person’s description of the day their St Ives boat trip went badly wrong. As an enjoyable angling trip came to a close and the boat returned to St Ives harbour, customers gave in to the begging eyes of two seals – ‘Box desk’ and ‘Clouds’ following their boat….Read More
Flipper gets lucky!
Last week Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust’s (CSGRT’s) Sue and Kate went out on one of their twice weekly surveys of the West Cornwall seal complex. Usually at this time of year, seals are hauled on the offshore island, but the rough seas and cooler temperatures have obviously confused the seals, leaving Sue and Kate…Read More
BBC Springwatch Seals
Springwatch have been planning trips to the beautiful Isles of Scilly since 2012 and this year’s final episode featured presenter Gillian Burke snorkelling with seals. Gillian contacted Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust (CSGRT) prior to filming to ensure she followed and communicated best practice.
CSGRT advise that swimming with seals is ONLY done using a…
Thank you Patagonia!
On May 6th, Patagonia organised the European premiere screening of ‘FISHPEOPLE’ at the Lighthouse Cinema, Newquay. Fish People is an inspiring film directed by Keith Malloy about six people, whose lives have been transformed by the sea. To our delight, Patagonia offered this as a fundraiser for us at Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust (CSGRT) – our…Read More
Polzeath Bags of Help!
Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust (CSGRT) are delighted to announce that our partner organisation Polzeath Marine Conservation Group (PMCG) has bagged £5000 from a Tesco funding scheme ‘Bags of Help’.
Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its Bags of Help funding initiative, which sees grants of up to £5,000, £2,000 and £1,000 – all…
Partnering for safer seas
Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust (CSGRT) have spent the morning with their partners Fathoms Free at their official boat launch in Penzance conducting multiple interviews on the issue of lost fishing gear.
Chiara from World Animal Protection being interviewed by BBC Sue from CSGRT talking about the impacts of…Read More
POLPIP summary 2016
Polzeath Marine Conservation Group (PMCG) work closely with Sue Sayer of Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust (CSGRT) and Newquay Sea Safaris to conduct marine life and coastal surveys for the Polzeath Photo ID Project (POLPIP). POLPIP is a hugely successful conservation project, leading to large amounts of data on mobile species and habitat use and has contributed…Read More
Our incredible supporters survey sites on their local patch throughout the year whatever the weather!
Rob Wells and Kath Wherry survey an important south coast seal site on the Roseland and their visit on 30th January began as always with a count and overview photo of the seals. There were a good number of seals…
Adrian Langdon went out in search of one thing and found another. The waxwing he had hoped for didn’t materialise and instead he found a seal with a difference! Prepared as ever, Adrian quickly snapped away only to realise that the seal he had been photographing didn’t really look like the seals he routinely sees…Read More
BNDs in the bay
What a great start to surveying in 2017!
There was absolutely NO swell, which might actually be a first for us!
Quite a way offshore we spotted some bottlenose dolphins. Not any bottlenose dolphins, but the inshore pod that move around the Cornish coast.
How do we know? We photo ID’d their fins of course…
A plea from Francesco
Sometimes the first time someone hears about the work of Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust (CSGRT) is when they are gifted a seal adoption. This is true of Francesco, who adopted ‘Neil the seal’ in 2015. After renewing his adoption in 2016, Francesco was inspired by the Planet Earth II series to create a comic using…Read More
Christmas came early
Merry Christmas to all our supporters near and far!
The biggest thank you ever to all our amazing supporters and partner organisations for their huge seal related efforts throughout 2016.
For Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust, Christmas came early this year.
We had the best two early presents ever!
The first came just…
Respect and protect
Daily routine interruptions on the up! (This article is illustrated by referring back to a particular day in the summer.)
Unlike many humans, seals don’t have a permanent home where they carry out a daily routine and venture from all year round. Cornwall Seal Group Reasearch Trust’s (CSGRT’s) photo ID research seems to suggest that…
Ghost was one of the first ever seal mums that I identified back in 2003. In 2016 she remains a very special seal mum who is a Cornish record breaker! We are trying to establish if she is perhaps even a world record breaker!
I first saw S112 Ghost on a magical Bonfire Night in…
Cornwall Dorset link!
In 2014, Julie Hatcher from Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) contacted CSGRT about setting up a seal photo identification project on her patch. After a successful collaboration, two years down the line we have our first (and very exciting) seal photo ID link up – adult female ‘Molar’ aka ‘Gamboling lamb’!
Named after the distinctive black patterns…
Every feed counts
Grey seal pups are an amazing wildlife spectacle around the UK coastline at this time of year…as little baggy bundles and then big barrels of white fluffy fur with huge appealing eyes.
But they need our help. They are only fed milk by their mothers for three critical weeks that determine their survival prospects. Born at…
Pups on Newsround
The sad story of few day old pup ‘Snoozy’ at Portheras Cove (erroneously and repeatedly put back in the sea by those wishing to help it) captured peoples’ imagination. Despite the very best efforts of Friends of Portheras Cove, Snoozy disappeared after a few days leaving us all fearing the worst :O(
Determined that Snoozy’s story…
Give pups space
The first mainland pup rescue of the season took place just one day later than last year! Well done to British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) Coordinator Dave Jarvis and his team of Marine Mammal Medics for a highly successful rescue of a five day old white coated pup from Portreath. This seal pup is now…Read More
Ghost Gear Report
Ghost Gear Report 2015/16 by CSGRT funded by World Animal Protection
What is Ghost Gear?
Ghost gear is any discarded, lost, or abandoned fishing gear in the marine environment. It is one of the biggest threats to our sea life. Ghost fishing gear affects a range of marine life in Cornwall, including grey seals a species…
Admire from a distance
In Cornwall, we are hugely lucky to have a globally rare seal species around our coast. There are fewer grey seals in the World than African elephants.
Grey seals are our most reliably sighted marine mammal. Unlike all other mobile marine megafauna species, seals appear in predictable locations at predictable times, so they underpin the marine tourism economy….
Boat survey highlights
Our 22nd systematic boat survey from St Agnes to Trevose (STAPIP) was heavily oversubscribed yesterday! With light winds, calm seas and sunny spells forecast we were all set to have a great day.
As usual we recorded everything….marine life and human activity (outside of built up areas) and all our surveyors were kept rather busy.
Thanks to everyone who shared our post yesterday about the young female seal who was badly entangled in lost or storm damaged trawl net.
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) received a call (via the RSPCA) last night to say that a seal matching the nettie’s description was hauled out on the mainland beach at…
Please keep a look out!
Little did we know when we left home at 5.30 this morning for a routine seal monitoring session, that our day would be hijacked by a young female seal.
Seal surveys are governed by the tides and in the summer this means surveying as close to low tide as possible whilst still leaving enough hours in the…
CSGRT feature in BBC Wildlife magazine
In 2015, CSGRT hosted visits from freelance writer Amy-Jane Beer and photographer Nick Upton who were researching an article on grey seals for the BBC Wildlife magazine. Amy interviewed Sue Sayer in May at CSGRT HQ whilst Nick joined both Sue and Kate Hockley on a routine land based survey in June and then participated in…Read More
One of the highlights in the SW marine conservation calendar year is the SW Marine Ecosystem Conference held at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory.
This event aims to promote networking across relevant organisations, summarise the previous year’s marine events and explore emerging research to inform the management of our precious SW marine ecosystems.
Organised by Bob Earll, this year’s…
Newsflash: Uno is dos! Tres!
The first pup (Uno) to be rescued during the 2015/16 season turned out to be number two (dos) in the 2016 rehabilitated seal resightings list!
Seen today on the West Cornwall haul out from which she had been rescued, Uno looked fit and well.
Ironically Kerplunk, the second seal to be rescued during the 2015/16 season…Read More
Bottlenose dolphin ID
During a ferry trip returning from a conference in France, a chance conversation between Sue Sayer of CSGRT and Dr Matthew Witt from the University of Exeter’s Penryn campus highlighted that Matt had got a top quality set of photos of potentially most of the inshore bottlenose dolphin (BND) pod when they visited the Fal…Read More
Assault on ghost gear!
Cornwall College’s Charity Spring Fair was held at their Newquay Campus today! Students Catherine, Emily, Jade, Joe and Kaitlin had organised fundraising action in aid of CSGRT!
Top highlight was an assault course with a difference! Designed to show everyone what it might be like to be a seal negotiating its way around ghost gear…
Marine life and people!
It’s a well known fact that Cornwall’s marine life is truly spectacular and an important asset to Cornwall’s economy! Less well known are the teams of incredible volunteers who are prepared to go out in all weathers, all year round to check up on these amazing creatures.
Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust (CSGRT) routinely…Read More
CSGRT attend SMM2015
Research findings about grey seals in south west England found a wider audience at the Society of Marine Mammology Conference (SMM2015) at the Hilton, Union Square, San Francisco thanks to funding from World Animal Protection and Cornwall College Newquay. The purpose of Sue and Bex’s trip was to share our research on grey seal entanglement…Read More
Podcasts and seals
(written by Rebecca Hollely who has kindly given her permission for us to publish her blog post on our website.)
Last year, University of Exeter Centre for Ecology and Conservation MSc. students set up a really cool group called The Natural Selection, where they interviewed university bioscience researchers about their recent work and made it…
On Wednesday the 3rd of November I got a call from BDMLR who in turn had been contacted by Sue from Cornwall Seal Group (CSG) as CSG volunteers, Alec, Enid and Terry, on the Lizard were concerned about a little pup on one of the coves on the west side of the peninsular….Read More
Busy giving seals a voice!
Since successfully introducing George Eustice (the DEFRA Minister for farming, food and the marine environment) to his local seals at the end of the last month, we have had a particularly busy time representing seals in our human world!
Sue, George and Kate meet the seals (including flipper tagged Beast – an ex…Read More
Brush aka Hufflepuff
Six years ago on 21/10/09 I got a call from British Divers Marine Life Rescue’s (BDMLR) Cornwall co-ordinator and charity director Dave Jarvis telling me there was a pup in trouble in the sea at Gwithian. It seems such a long time ago and yet I remember it like yesterday as it was rather an…Read More
Uno was the first grey seal pup to be rescued of the 2015/16 season in Cornwall mainland.
On 3rd September 2015, Sue and Kate from Cornwall Seal Group (CSG) were concerned about a one day old female seal pup with a white coat and a pink umbilicus during a routine monitoring session. They were alerted by the pup’s…
It always pays to expect the unexpected. At the back of the haul out on the other side of the beach from us we noticed a small seal that looked a bit different. Looking through the binoculars in a howling gale isn’t easy and despite discussing the possibility of it being a common seal, we…Read More
Oil and seals don’t mix!
Phew! After a survey where no seals were spotted it is good to arrive at the mainland haul out, peer over the cliff and find they have returned! Just three days later the haul out had returned to normal and I was happy! After the initial count and age/sex data collection, I began taking photos…Read More
Like the rest of the Cornish coast, the mainland haul out beach hasn’t come through the recent storms unscathed. A large quantity of sand has been ripped off the beach revealing lines of boulders under the cliff and somewhat surprisingly a rocky wave cut platform. Whilst it is hard to judge scale from distance, it…Read More
Good news at last!
After the loss of our last pup on the mainland haul out at the start of the year, it was a relief to get some good news about pups in Cornwall! This came in the form of a release of rehabilitated seals by the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. The seas have been wild, but Thursday’s forecast…Read More