Who are Cwmtydu-Bay-Wildlife.org?

    The aims of Cwmtydu-Bay-Wildlife.org are;
      • To advance the education of visitors on Atlantic Grey Seals, their habitat, and conservation, as well as introducing visitors to the other wildlife in the local area.
      • To observe, and monitor the seals, and to record the behaviour pattern of family groups of seals, in the area, during the pupping season.

    We are a group of local volunteers who work in conjunction with Ceredigion County Council and Countryside Council for Wales.

    The group was formed in 2001, when a petition signed by over 300 people was presented to Ceredigion County Council, requesting a sign, restricting the public's access to the beach.

    In 2002, the council put up a sign but the position and size was of little help in protecting the pups from the public.

    Ceredigion County Council generously provided us with 3 A3 information boards in 2003. These we were able to position at both sides of the car park, and one along the river. These were of great use, as it gave volunteers to time to talk with visitors, and helped enforce our request for people not to use the beach, where the pups were.

    We had three pups born 2003, the first one being born in one of the caves early September, and hardly seen on the beach. The other two were born about the 7th, and 10th of September, and they were on the beach from day one.

    Pup 2 was always on a head start, and really took to the sea. Pup 3, as visitors know, gave us some concerns. The pup was born during the high tides, and was unfortunate to be swept out in the surf. the pup was swiftly rescued by 'mum', but then appeared to be scared of the sea. This meant the pup was not only not feeding as well (the females encourage the pups into the sea by feeding them in the edge of the water), but it was not gaining the swimming skills it would need later on.

    When the females stop feeding the pups, which is natural after about 18 days, the pups are left on their own. The females can lose about half of their body fat during lactation, as they don't feed themselves. The females will mate with the dominant Bull, shortly before leaving to go and feed herself.

    We have witnessed the mating over numerous years, and in 2003 this actually happened within a few feet of us, on the beach. This proved that the seals felt comfortable in our presence, provided that we remained of the beach and behind the wall, the seals continued with their lives as if we were not there, feeding, bonding, pups sleeping, adults fighting, and mating.

    We have also witnessed the Bull looking after the pups, after the females have left the area. This behaviour is unusual and not previously documented, but this has been seen on a number of occasions by us.
    We are learning about different behaviours, not previously known, just by watching and not disturbing them. We have always kept away unless we have had to take action, such as with Ewan in 2005. See our Seal news page for his story.

    Pup 3 did make it into the sea without any help from us. All three pups left the beach, although pups 2 & 3, returned for a further week, to sleep on the beach.

    The first few months are hard for all animals and seals are no different. They have to find food, and survive on their own. Seal pups also have stormy seas to battle with, and sometimes just need to come out of the sea and rest.

    We request all visitors to be aware of seals especially during August to November. To keep a distance, keep all dogs on leads, and to keep disturbance to a minimum.

    It is never our intention to cause offence, and our volunteers are there to give information to visitors, and to ensure the welfare of the seals.

    With everyone's help the seals will continue to return for many more years.

    We are always in need of volunteers. Over the years we have logged in excess of 1,400 hours watching seals. The average time being 4.8 hours.

    If you live locally, enjoy talking to people, and can spare a few hours a week during August to October; please use the form on the contact us page.

    The WMLR is staffed by volunteers, including Veterinary surgeons, who donate their time, and energy to the rescue of stranded marine life.

    If you are interested in what happens to these sick, injured or abandoned seals, you can visit Terry at the seal hospital, in Milford Haven. Please contact him to check on suitable times.

    Our many thanks to Terry and his team for their help.

    On behalf of the seals and their pups; Thank you, our supporters.

      

    Thanks to Lori & Steve Pittaway & Dr R Morris, and my husband Eric (for the times I'm missing), and especially all our volunteers.

    Many thanks also to Ross Fleet of Orkney Seal Rescue Centre, SMRU, and Marine Conservation Society.



    Web-site design by Pauline Bett.



    Unless otherwise accredited all photographs © Pauline Bett