A SEAL pup rescued by the RSPCA has been returned to the wild after a period of rehabilitation in the charity’s care.
Stunning video footage shows the moment RSPCA staff returned the pup to the wild, on December 8, after two-months of care at wildlife facilities in Hastings. The release took place on a beach adjacent to the RNLI’s Horton and Port Eynon Lifeboat Station, in the Gower.
RSPCA Cymru has – in recent months – dealt with a ‘very challenging’ period in terms of seal rescues, with dozens brought into the charity’s care in need of support, including in the aftermath of the recent Ophelia and Brian storms.
The male pup was rescued by the RSPCA after being found at Quay Parade in Aberaeron in early August, underweight, wounded and high-up on the beach some distance from the water. The pup was fed zoolyte – a special type of food to help him recover – before being transferred to RSPCA Mallydams Wood, where he was rehabilitated by specialist staff.
RSPCA animal collection officer (ACO) Ellie West said: “Returning seal pups like this to the wild is one of the most rewarding parts of the job.
“The poor pup had been through a difficult time, and was found alone, underweight and injured in Aberaeron.
“However, after a period of care at our specialist centre in Hastings, he was brought back to Wales, and returned safely back to the wild – happy and healthy – in the Gower.
“We’re grateful to those at the RNLI’s Horton and Port Eynon Lifeboat Station, who helped us access an area to safely release this beautiful pup.”
ACO West noted that this pup’s rescue was part of a period of an ‘unprecedented’ focus on seal rescues in the region.
She added: “RSPCA Cymru has faced a very challenging few months undertaking exceptionally high, unprecedented numbers of complex seal rescues across South West, and West Wales.
“Approximately 40 seals have been rescued by RSPCA officers following the weather conditions caused by the Ophelia and Brian storms – as part of some 96 in total rescued since early September.
“Most of these rescues have taken place in Pembrokeshire, but we have been working across the entire region’s coastline, from Borth, to the Gower, and Porthcawl.
“This quantity is far higher than the previous year – highlighting what a huge recent commitment this has been for RSPCA officers on the frontline, and our wildlife centres that have been working to rehabilitate these poor animals.”
Ben Lake MP stands up for Ceredigion’s hospitality sector in Parliament
A WESTMINSTER Hall debate, brought about by an online petition signed over 200,000 times, saw MPs on both sides come together to shine a light on the challenges currently faced by restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and supply chain businesses across the UK.
During his contribution to the debate, Ben Lake MP emphasised the importance of the hospitality industry to Ceredigion’s local economy. Ceredigion is home to nearly 400 food and accommodation businesses, including 75 pubs, and together hospitality businesses employ 4,500 people in the county. This equates to over 16% of all employees, without accounting for the many supply chain jobs that are dependent on the sector, such as those found in breweries, food wholesale, and catering equipment hire businesses.
Figures published by UK Hospitality have shown that approximately 41% of hospitality businesses suggested that they would fail by mid-2021 and only one in five sector businesses have enough cash flow to survive beyond February.
Ben Lake MP said: “The vaccination programme of course offers some hope that we will see the level of Covid disruption reduce significantly this year, but hospitality businesses across Ceredigion tell me that they are deeply concerned about their immediate prospects for survival.
“I support calls for the Treasury to provide additional funds so that businesses can be supported to bounce back once restrictions have been eased, and to pause employer national insurance contributions for furloughed employees as a way of alleviating the burden on businesses that are still, in many instances, required by law to close. I also urged the Treasury to consider extending the business rates holiday for the forthcoming financial year, as well as extending the hospitality VAT reduction scheme into 2022.
“Not only would these support measures give businesses the support they require to see out this pandemic, it would also avoid the terrible situation whereby businesses that have previously received Government support are forced to close for good – leaving their employees without a job and previous Government support in vain.”
While there will be no direct action as a consequence of this Westminster Hall debate, it is hoped the result will put increased pressure on the UK Government to consider the proposal more seriously.
Lifeboat Operations Manager in New Year’s Honours list
Richard Llewelyn Griffiths the Lifeboat Operations Manager of Aberystwyth Lifeboat Station has been recognised for services to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in Wales.
He has been awarded a BEM.
Having served as a RNLI volunteer for an impressive 47 years, it is his role in the last 21 years as Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) which has earned him the most respect.
His local knowledge has provided reassurance to casualties and crews alike when launching in difficult conditions.
His operational decision-making and station management skills are outstanding, and he is greatly valued by crew, management, volunteers and coastal personnel both past and present.
He has contributed greatly towards Aberystwyth being recognised as a ‘benchmark’ Inshore Lifeboat Station, serving as an example to the whole institution of how a station could and should be run.
Richard said: ‘I’m very surprised but honoured to be receiving a BEM – the news still doesn’t feel real. My father was awarded a BEM in 1988 and I still have his medal at home, so to be awarded one myself for my work with the lifeboats is a great privilege. I’ve been fortunate to work with a number of characters during my time with the RNLI – both at Borth and Aberystwyth – and continue to volunteer alongside a good crew today.’
Nationally, a total of six Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteers have been recognised for their vital role in helping the charity save lives at sea through the New Year’s Honours.
Mark Dowie, RNLI Chief Executive said: ‘Following a challenging 2020, it is particularly pleasing to see these RNLI volunteers recognised in the New Year’s Honours list. Together, they personify the RNLI’s ‘One Crew’ ethos, representing the variety and diversity of roles from a former full-time mechanic to shore crew and fundraisers to station managers, who collectively deliver a shared vision to save every one. On behalf of everyone at the RNLI, congratulations to you all for being recognised for your longstanding service, hard work and selfless commitment. And thank you for everything you do to help the RNLI save lives at sea.’
Temporary closure of Minor Injuries Unit in Cardigan confirmed
AS PART of its response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Hywel Dda University Health Board says it has temporarily closed the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) in Cardigan in order to redeploy clinical staff to support the COVID 19 response within Ceredigion.
The MIU, which is based in Cardigan Integrated Care Centre and normally operates from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, will temporarily close with immediate effect. The situation will be under constant review and normal service will be resumed when it is safe and appropriate to do so.
In the meantime, minor injuries help and advice is available as follows:
– visit the 111 symptom checker (https://111.wales.nhs.uk/)
– visit your local pharmacy
– call 111
– please do NOT self-present to the GP reception in Cardigan Integrated Care Centre as they do not deal with minor injuries.
– for emergency care the A+E departments are as follows:
· Glangwili Hospital A+E Carmarthen SA32 2AF
· Bronglais Hospital A+E Aberystwyth SY23 1ER
· Withybush Hospital A+E Haverfordwest SA61 2PZ