BY SEÁN P. FEENY
A YOUNG hobby photographer has called on authorities to post emergency response numbers at beaches after discovering an injured seal and not knowing what to do.
Aodhan Gallagher from Gortahork was walking on Magheraroarty Beach with his school friend Danny and his father Ian McGilvery last weekend when they came across the injured baby seal.
Not knowing how to deal with the situation, the group spent a long time making phone calls before reaching someone that was able to assist them.
Aodhan (16) said: “The seal couldn’t get back into the water and it had a cut on its side which was bleeding. We were trying to think of who to phone for help, but knew of nobody.
“Eventually Danny’s father got through to someone at Glenveagh National Park who told us to leave the seal as its mother was probably waiting off-shore until high tide.”
The PCC Falcarragh student said there should be numbers readily available by the beach to call in case of emergencies such as this.
“The relevant authorities could put the numbers of animal rescue and other sea rescue hotlines on the life ring boxes on the beach.
“Most beaches have them, if we could put the numbers on there then I think we could help and rescue many beached animals,” said Aodhan.
If you ever encounter a seal emergency, the Irish Seal Sanctuary (ISS), which deals with over 2,000 wildlife distress calls per annum and is the sole provider of seal rescue services in Ireland, has some important advice.
Brendan Price, ISS Spokesperson, said: “If you have an emergency create a safe space for the animal, the public and dogs and contact the nearest vet. The local gardai, conservation ranger or SPCA can assist you in this.
“A vet will be needed to stabilise the animal, will know of local volunteers and will have all necessary information at hand on the Irish Seal Sanctuary website.”
The ISS has been operating since 1986 as a sanctuary for rescued marine and other wildlife, and in particular seals. The sanctuary provides shelter for these rescued animals and run a follow-up programme of rehabilitation and release. www.irishsealsanctuary.ie
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