A crowdfunding campaign to help protect a globally rare species living in Cornwall has just a few days left to reach its target.
The UK plays host to almost a third of the world’s grey seal population.
Seals are one of the South West’s key marine wildlife attractions that contribute to tourist income and help diversify Cornish coastal economies, according to the Cornish Times.
For 20 years, Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust (CSGRT) has been giving seals a voice to protect them and their important ocean home. They use photo identification to recognise individual seals from their unique fur patterns, and this data informs future policy, education and inspiration.
CSGRT’s dedicated Marine Rangers work hard to support a large volunteer network to do scientific research. Each year, thousands of people connect with CSGRT’s Marine Rangers in schools and at events, to learn about marine conservation and ocean optimism.
But this year, due to Covid-19, the cancellation of all the group’s events, and loss of EU funding, CSGRT faces a £50,000 shortfall and the potential loss of its marine rangers.
A Crowdfunder appeal has been launched and has reached 75% of its target of £20,000 in just a few days.
If it’s successful, the appeal will mean the group can keep its Marine Rangers for 12 months, giving them more time to do their pioneering Photo ID, coastal monitoring, volunteer training, school activities, public events, reports, consultations and policy recommendations.
“Seals are marine mammals but they are connected to the land,” says Springwatch presenter and Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust Patron Gillian Burke. “Every time they haul out, they’re like messengers – they bring back news of the state of our oceans. They act like sentinel species.
“Here in the UK we’re incredibly lucky. We play host to almost a third of the whole world’s grey seal population. That’s a huge responsibility. It’s an amazing thing to have on our doorstep. As such they really deserve our care and protection.”