Cornwall

Gweek Seal Sanctuary

The story of the Gweek Seal Sanctuary began in the winter of 1958. As Ken Jones walked along his local beach at St Agnes, he spotted an indistinct shape on the sand. On closer inspection, Ken realised to his surprise that it was, in fact, a baby seal only a few hours old. Washed up by the winter’s churning seas and now motherless, the little one’s future would have been bleak had Ken not scooped the pup up and taken him home.

From that moment on, Ken began dedicating as much time as possible to rescuing stranded seals and oiled birds. With just one pool at his home in St Agnes he, along with the help of his wife Mary, worked hard to rescue, rehabilitate and release sick and injured animals, providing help when they needed it the most. As word of his efforts spread, Ken received more and more appeals for help from around the county and eventually he made the decision to expand.

After being offered land by the beautiful Helford River, the Seal Sanctuary moved to Gweek in 1975. Investing huge amounts of money and time, the sanctuary was able to build more pools to accommodate higher numbers of rescued seals, and even sometimes turtles and dolphins too. To this day, the shelter regularly runs to full capacity, as well as housing resident grey seals, common seals, Patagonian and Californian sea lions, penguins and otters. There are even goats, sheep and ponies!

If you would like to visit Gweek Seal Sanctuary, you will be able to wander the site and see the respective nursery, convalescence and resident pools. Although the sanctuary does its upmost to release all of its patients, the reality is that sometimes individuals just wouldn’t be able to survive on their own in the wild and need to be looked after full-time. These beautiful beings make up some of the permanent residents who you can see as you make your way around the site!

A particularly good way to learn about the sanctuary’s work and the animals is by attending the daily feeding events, where the expert staff offer a fascinating insight into the animals in their care. To check out opening times and donate to the sanctuary, check out their website for the most up-to-date information.

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek TR12 6UG | sealsanctuary.sealifetrust.org | 01326 221 361

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