Friday, 31 August 2007

Alfie The Seal - A Further (Not So Happy) Update

One of the best things about the internet is the interaction between total strangers, and the way it makes it possible to obtain and/or pass on information between people that would otherwise have no way of contacting each other.

Following my story about "Alfie" the seal and it's subsequent update a lady called Sue has spotted my pictures of the seal on my Flickr photos and passed on the following messages.

Hi Wurzel
Just thought you'd like to know, this is definitely not one of the Sanctuary released seals. Neither is his name Alfie - all St Ives seals seem to be called Alfie! He is a seal known to the Cornwall Seal Group ( as DP144 White Propeller. He was first identified on 17/02/04 and has been seen 36 times since. He is seen on the east side of the bay in the early and late part of the year. The only time he has been seen in the Summer months is at the Carracks - which is where you saw him I think? We don't know where he spends the rest of his year. He is a young adult male seal with a big appetite! Unfortunately he has learned that he can get easy meals from boats - after being fed by people in St Ives harbour. Associating boats with food can have disasterous consequences for seals, so his behaviour is very worrying. Thanks so much for posting your excellent photos and videos. I will add your sighting to our seal database.

Hi Wurzel - just posted a comment on your other photo of 'Alfie' and realised that it looks like he has already suffered as a result of his interactions with people and boats in the harbour. This photo seems to show a small wound that has been bleeding recently on the right side of his neck. I have seen this sort of injury before caused by mackerel line hooks. We really need to try to persuade people that feeding wild seals in harbours encourages the seals to change their behaviour. This so often results in the seal becoming injured. It is a sad story for such a beautiful photo!

So it seems like "Alfie" and maybe others like him could be suffering through the boat trip organisers exploiting their behaviour to make their trips more popular with no regard for the seal's wellbeing. No doubt we aren't the only gullible tourists unaware of the consequences, I feel quite sad that we had not realised at the time.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.