Free the Ocean Blog
The Heartwarming Tale of Cornwall's Seal Hospital
In the windswept seaside city of Cornwall, Lizzi Larbalestier stands out as a beacon of hope for marine wildlife. Her journey spearheading a full-fledged seal hospital showcases her deep commitment to marine conservation.
A Sanctuary for Seals
Lizzi, a dedicated volunteer for British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), recognized the urgent need for specialized care for injured seals. Starting with a modest setup in her own home, she, alongside her husband and fellow volunteers, established a fully equipped seal hospital. This new facility boasts ten pens, significantly expanding their capacity to care for these vulnerable creatures.
The hospital, now in its third birthing season, is a lifeline for approximately 100 seals annually. It’s a response to a growing need, highlighted by the 3,000 calls they received last year for injured or displaced sea life. The reasons for admission vary—from wounds inflicted by boats or fishing gear to malnourished juveniles struggling to survive.
Each seal’s journey through Lizzi’s hospital is unique, ranging from basic check-ups to comprehensive rehabilitation programs. The ultimate goal is to prepare these animals for transfer to larger facilities like the Cornish Seal Sanctuary or West Hatch RSPCA, before their eventual release back into the wild.
A Diverse Call to Action
The team’s expertise isn’t limited to seals. They’re often called out to assist with other marine wildlife, including whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Lizzi’s experiences with successful dolphin refloats (helping a dolphin back to sea after being stranded on the coast) highlight the diverse challenges they face and conquer.
Lizzi’s commitment to the cause recently earned her the prestigious Animal Action Award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). The Animal Action Award is a recognition of her significant contributions to animal welfare. The Executive Vice President of IFAW, Azzedine Downes, emphasizes the importance of celebrating heroes like Lizzi, who come from all walks of life yet share a common goal of animal conservation.
Lizzi Larbalestier’s work in Cornwall is more than a story of animal rescue; it’s a narrative of human compassion, teamwork, and an unwavering commitment to preserving our planet’s marine life.