Rehabilitated Atlantic grey seal on Ramsey Island, 2013

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Lisa Morgan is Head of Islands and Marine, at the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales. In 2013, whilst Warden on Ramsey Island, Lisa spotted an Atlantic grey seal cow (female) on a beach on the South-East coast of Ramsey Island. The cow had a distinctive netting constriction (scar) around her front flippers. Following some research, Lisa discovered that the cow was 'Bagshot', an Atlantic grey seal who had been rescued by Cornwall Seal Sanctuary (Gweek) in February 2010. Due to injuries caused by entanglement with netting, Bagshot spent several months being treated and rehabilitated at Cornwall Seal Sanctuary, before being released in May 2010.

Lisa wrote a blog at the time regarding the incedent, recalling the following; "A female grey seal rescued from a beach in Cornwall in February 2010 was spotted on Ramsey in 2013, 3.5 years later! This little cow had a traumatic start to life. At just 3 months old she was spotted on the beach at Perranporth, by a very worried member of the public. She had become entangled in some netting which was causing severe constriction wounds to her neck and around her fore-flippers and belly. Luckily the onlookers had the good sense to contact the National Seal Sanctuary based in Gweek. The seal was quickly located and captured by the experienced volunteers from the seal hospital. Fortunately she was found to be in good condition. The netting was removed and she was treated for any infections caused by her open wounds. However, she was going to need a few months rehabilitation and a name was needed. She was christened ‘Bagshot’ and fitted with a blue hind-flipper tag. In May 2010, Bagshot was successfully released back into the wild along with three other seals that had also been carefully rehabilitated at the sanctuary. In October 2013, I was completing my twice weekly survey of the busy seal pupping beaches around Ramsey and called in to check a pebbly beach nicknamed ‘The Bachelor Pad’ on Ramsey’s south-east coast. No pups are born here but it is a very popular site with Grey seals, who haul-out here to sleep and moult their coats over-winter. It was here that I spotted a seal with a netting constriction around her front flippers, jostling for position among over 90 other animals on the beach.

"The light was fading but I did have my camera and long lens which meant I could get a photo or two. When I got home I put the photos on the computer and despite the poor quality of the images the animal’s wounds were obvious. I couldn’t be sure but it did look like there might be a blue tag on the rear flipper. It was not until a  couple of months later that I spotted a seal in the photographic catalogue of Grey seals collected over many years by the staff on neighbouring Skomer island. There was a cow that had been seen hauled-out there with the same wounds and a blue flipper tag. With a little help from the Cornwall Seal Group the pieces of the puzzle fell into place. Bagshot was alive and well, four years old and busy visiting sites in West Wales. What a lucky seal. To be spotted and reported by a member of the public and cared for by the seal sanctuary. And what a fitting reward for all the hard work, time and money invested in this animal by hospital staff and volunteers. Had the netting not been removed it may have proved fatal as she grew and it constricted ever tighter around her body."