Northumberland welcomes its newest marine mammal medics

Friday, 8th November 2019

David Newell from the seal rescue unit in Tynemouth, with Karbon residents Sam Davies-McGill and Neave Owen, and Hazel Lewis, BDLMR volunteer. Learning how to safely restrain and examine a seal pup without injury to the seal and avoiding a bite to the medic.

Thanks to a course held at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, two Karbon residents have been given the opportunity to play a major part in saving Northumberland's marine life.

Working in partnership with the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, a national charity that rescues marine wildlife in distress around the country through a network of trained volunteers, Karbon funded two of its residents to complete a marine mammal medic course.

The course gives trainees the skills they need to handle and lift an injured or stranded seal or dolphin safely, as well as mammal first aid techniques.

To test their abilities, trainees are required to refloat life sized and weighted models of Pilot Whales and Dolphins, covering how to ID, body condition, handle, position, uplift and move the animal.

The course also covers how to deal with members of the public and to work with other emergency services, the coastguards, and vets.

On completion of the day course, Karbon residents, Sam Davies-McGill and Neave Owen, were awarded a medic badge and certificate and insurance for the year to allow them to become active BDMLR volunteers.

The relationship between the BDLMR and Karbon first formed when the charity received funding from Karbon’s Investing in Communities grant scheme.

The charity secured £1,000 from Karbon to fund new equipment for volunteers and support the running of courses along the North East coast.

Mary Ormston, Karbon Community Connector covering communities along the Northumberland coast line, said:

“With over 700 properties located in communities along the Northumberland coast, we see real value in supporting charities and organisations which look after the marine environment.

“Volunteering opportunities bring lots of benefits to our residents, giving them the chance to learn and develop new skills and improve general life skills such as teamwork, communication and problem solving.

“The work carried out by volunteers also assists in preserving the beautiful Northumberland coastline and wildlife that the whole community can enjoy.”

BDMLR is a registered charity and is operated entirely by volunteers. Their rescue teams are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Jane Hardy, BDMLR North East Fundraising Coordinator, said, “The North East coastline is an exceptionally busy area for seals.

“Thanks to the support from Karbon we’ve been able to provide volunteers in the area with essential rescue kits, so they’re prepped to support if a call comes in from the emergency services or a member of the general public.

“The chance to increase our presence in the area means we have a valuable opportunity to engage with the local community and educate them on important issues relating to the marine environment, a big part of life for many Northumberland residents.”