Now we don't claim to be good at it ... but occasionally we get ourselves on TV!!
Over the years we've had some different encounters. Here are a few of them...
Seal Alliance Watching Seals Well Campaign Launch
APRIL 2021 BBC Breakfast
Sarah Greenslade and Christopher Berry, both Seal Project Trustees, and BDMLR Medics - Chris also being the BDMLR Area Co-Ordinator spent the morning with the BBC Breakfast Team on behalf of the Seal Alliance. It was cold, and rough, and cold, but hopefully we did ok!!
BBC Spotlight BDMLR Call out to a Speared Seal.
Sarah's first BDMLR Call out - and the most unusual one.
September 2017 reported on Spotlight News BBC South West
In September 2017 Sarah received her first BDMLR Marine Mammal Medic call out - to a speared seal. This was an extreme call out and certainly something we never want to come across again.
This seal was seen off Brixham, Devon, with the harpoon in her lower back. As a result this was shown on the local regional BBC news station 'Spotlight'. Rewards were put up, social media stories were impressive in their creativity, but this seal was observed over a fortnight, by Sarah who's day job took a back seat to following up every call out in the area. The spear wasn't impeding her movements around the Bay. Two weeks after the initial call out it was pouring with rain. Sarah & Lee went out hoping to see her somewhere. From the initial encounter Sarah could see the fur patterns on this seal were easily identifiable - this is how seals are recognised, so she knew what we were looking for. After a couple of hours of other seals, and heavy rain, they came home cold & frustrated. But decided instantly to go back out. Back to the same location. a hunch maybe? Within a short time a seal appeared. It was this seal. It was 'Speardy'.
This is why Sarah does the identifications. The markings on this seal started the journey this project is well known for. Sarah's eye for identification of seals.
'Speardy' as she is now known was alive and well and minus the spear in her back. We see her regularly. Recently seen in the Bay by Rob Hughes from Devon Sea Safaris who shares his seal sightings with The Seal Project. She is incredibly lucky to still be alive and we can only assume this came free without any harm. She's a stunning seal, who has no idea that she is almost the reason behind this project being all it is.
Appearance on Countryfile's Brixham Episode
On Sunday 2nd October 2022, we were lucky enough to be a part of an episode of Countryfile, which was based in Brixham. Sarah, our founder was interviewed about how she got involved with seals, and seal identifications, and how she became a BDMLR Marine Mammal Medic leading onto a segment about the BDMLR (British Divers Marine Life Rescue) demonstrating rescuing a beached whale and discussing other marine life rescues. Sarah was interviewed by BBC Countryfile presenter Joe Crowley, and joined by BDMLR Area Coordinator & The Seal Project Trustee Chris Berry, Lee Allen, also a Trustee & skipper of The Seal Project and BDMLR Medic &
Nicola Durdin, also part of The Seal Project team and a BDMLR Marine Mammal Medic, along with other BDMLR volunteers in a rescue exercise involving a 2 tonne water filled life size whale. This was an amazing experience for us both as The Seal Project locally, and as Marine Mammal Medics, who are vital around the South Devon Coastline.We were invited to be involved in this Countryfile episode as it was being filmed in and around the Brixham area. Seals don’t turn up at specific times so we had nothing we could ‘arrange’ that the team hadn’t already done elsewhere so we were then asked alongside the BDMLR if we could put on a Marine Mammal Rescue demonstration. The weather was forecast against us, but it turned out to be a beautiful day and the whale rescue demo went brilliantly.The crew and Joe Crowley were so friendly all the way through, you totally forgot you were being filmed. It was just a great day, answering questions and taking part in the demo.
Plenty of people came down to watch what was going on, either on the beach or from the Breakwater, as unless you see the set up involved, the life sized whale in the shallows surrounded by medics (keeping it from floating away) looks very lifelike – a few people were concerned it was a live stranding, which proves we look like we are doing everything we should for a live stranded creature
Ironically, less than a week later the BDMLR were involved in a live stranding of a Sowerby’s Beaked Whale across the bay in Torquay. Both myself & Chris Berry along with many other medics, HM Coastguard & Torbay Harbour Authority were involved in what was initially a live stranding but soon became a recovery rather than a rescue. Myself & Chris were the medics in the water with the deceased whale taking all necessary measurements prior to its autopsy.
This, if nothing else, proves why the BDMLR courses are so vital along our coastline.
If you would like to watch the episode, it is available on BBC iPlayer until 2/10/2023 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m001cs8y/countryfile-brixham). Similarly, if you want to learn more about rescuing whales, seals or other marine life, information can be found on our website, or the BDMLR website (https://bdmlr.org.uk/)