Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust is a multi-award winning, evidence-based marine conservation charity. What we do really works. We give seals a voice and protect them and their ocean home. Each seal’s fur pattern is unique and enables our volunteers track them for life. Seals face many challenges, yet we all depend on them to balance our marine ecosystem. This is essential to make the oxygen we breathe. Seals are our globally rare wildlife tourist attraction, helping diversify coastal economic prosperity.
This year, we cancelled all events because of COVID-19. Events bring donations and grants to fund our activities. We have a £50,000 shortfall, so we have a Crowdfunder appeal to raise £20,000. This will fund our Marine Ranger programme, giving us 12 months to find other support for our pioneering Photo ID, coastal monitoring, volunteer training, school activities, public events, reports, consultations and policy/planning recommendations.
Please help us by taking part: Please donate, enjoy our rewards, share us across your social media and send us your seal sightings. THANK YOU!
- Ghost. A world record breaking mum - 16 pups in 17 years on exactly the same beach!
- Lucky Bunting. Seriously injured by entanglement, we rescued her, giving her a second chance - she has since had her first pup.
- Lewis. We’ve tracked him since he was born in 2000 and discovered he commutes 285km between N Devon and SE Cornwall.
- Tulip Belle was first identified in 2001. She’s had 4 pups in the Isle of Man and returns to Cornwall, 450km away, in between.
Everybody loves to see a seal in its natural habitat. Children squeal with delight and it creates a memory for the whole family. But ours in the UK need protection as they are one of the rarest seal species in the world. Even with 34% of the entire world population, there are still more red squirrels in the UK than grey seals.
What we do really works. Our charity's aim has always been to give seals a voice and to protect them and their ocean home. We do this by finding out as much as we can about our seals and their movements in a non-invasive way through photo identification. In 20 years, Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust has processed over 1 million photos resulting in 72,000+ IDs. We know that seals we first met in 2000 are still alive in 2020.
We all depend on seals to balance our marine ecosystem. This is essential to make the oxygen we breathe. They are also our globally rare wildlife tourist attraction helping diversify coastal economic prosperity. Our project improves the quality of coastal marine habitat by raising community awareness and motivating action to reduce issues caused by household chemicals, lost fishing gear, microplastics and disturbance.
In 2019 at 159+ events, our Marine Rangers connected with more than 12,000+ people in our amazing pop-up marine centre. We want to inspire everyone to take daily action to make our seas safer for all marine life and people. CSGRT share data on seals, birds, dolphins, microplastics, entanglement and disturbance globally. This informs planning, policy and legislation to protect our oceans.
The more people that help to protect our endangered seals, the more memories seals will continue to create for today’s children, their children and their children’s children.
Our Marine Rangers work hard to protect the ocean to help seals thrive. Seals face many challenges and need us to represent them. Our seal skeleton 'Septimus' proved human impacts can be shocking and cumulative. (#SeptimusSomeSeal recently featured on Springwatch with our patron Gillian Burke). There are many threats like climate change, chemical/pharmaceutical pollution, accidental bycatch, prey redistribution, microplastics, disturbance injuries and entanglement. Help us to help more seals like Lucky Star (shown left below). We rescued him from his painful entanglement with our partners British Divers Marine Life Rescue and the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. He is one of around 100 different entangled seals we identify every year.
It’s our 20th birthday! CSGRT is a multi-award winning, evidence-based conservation charity. Our citizen scientists routinely survey seals on their local patch. This helps us to learn more about grey seals, a globally rare marine mammal for which the UK has a special legal responsibility to protect (JNCC). We do this by engaging global partners.
This year, we cancelled all events because of COVID-19. Events bring in donations to fund our research and grants have been diverted away from wildlife. We have a £50,000 shortfall, so we have set up a Crowdfunder appeal to raise £20,000. This will fund our Marine Ranger programme, giving us 12 months to find other support. To thank you, we have rewards from specially designed, beautiful information packs, to seal buddy bags and exclusive opportunities to join us seal surveying, either virtually or in person. So please share across social media to give friends and family the chance to experience these too.
We need people to conserve seals. Our dedicated team have achieved major conservation successes from ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’ protection for grey seals (making it a criminal offence to disturb them) to setting up the ‘Seal Network UK’ with DEFRA.
- “I love making seal survey ID albums. Thanks for keeping me involved during COVID-19 as seals have been my sanity!”
- “Your rangers are great - enthusiastic, encouraging and helpful - giving constructive information and guidance”
- “I have really enjoyed your high-quality series of online conference talks”
- “I love my volunteering with seals best, as you make me feel my contribution is worthwhile and my skills appreciated”.
Each seal’s fur pattern is unique and like a human fingerprint can help us to track them for life. Photo ID is one of the most powerful research tools for studying seals. It is a non-invasive technique revealing information about their biology, ecology and life histories. We encourage everyone to send in their seal sightings from the SW (Somerset, Devon, Dorset, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly) to [email protected]. Photos are a bonus. They help us confirm if it is a grey or common seal; male or female and sometimes who it is and their back story! Our pioneering work has made our grey seals the most intensively studied in the world.
Well done for reading this far!
We give something back to the people and communities who support us. Our large and growing volunteer network is made up of people from all walks of life, ages and abilities. For those able to get out, seals give them a focus and reason to regularly exercise, keep fit and healthy. For those stuck at home, our online processing of seal data and photos means they stay connected, make a positive contribution to our team and feel valued. We care about them as individuals and support their lives when challenges arise, from kind words to practical one to one assistance. The importance of each individual in our network cannot ever be underestimated and we are hugely grateful to every single one of them. They are CSGRT.
Our pioneering work has led to better protection for seals sites. It has added to knowledge about individual seal lives and their habitat use. More importantly, seals have returned to habitat that had been lost through pollution and disturbance.
Key learning outcomes from our work show that:
- Our seal sites are like service stations on seal motorways. Seals stop off to rest on their way to somewhere else. If disturbed, they just move on
- Only a few of seals seen at a site will stay there for several months. They will use the site as their base from which to forage. Each seal has a different combination of summer and winter sites
- Each seal takes a different route around the oceans which it repeats seasonally. Seals from Cornwall have visited north and south Devon, Dorset, Somerset, the Isle of Man, Wales, France, Ireland, Belgium and Holland.
Please donate to help seals and look after the sea by funding our Marine Ranger Programme - we would love your support. Please share our Crowdfunder on social media. Email [email protected] to join our team effort, we’d love to see your seal photos or hear your seal stories.