Following a stormy few days in November 2019, our rescue team were called out to Arklow, to assess the state of a grey seal pup who was stranded and in very poor condition. In a battered, lethargic state, sporting obvious injuries to her muzzle, nose and belly our team decided to lift Falafel from the beach, which is a common hangout for local dog walkers. She was admitted to intensive care at our rescue centre in Courtown.
Strangely, falafel was adorned with three red, purple and blue spray painted dots on her lower back. After significant research into the source of these dots, our team reached out to The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales.
They had been monitoring pups at the Skomer Island grey seal colony, during pupping season. Their team was able to identify Falafel, confirming the most recent location she was seen with her mother.It is not uncommon for grey seal pups to be washed from the shores of their rookeries during large storms.
In fact, during Ex-hurricane Ophelia in 2018, one of the UK’s largest seal colonies, Ramsey Island lost 75% of its pups. Unseasonal weather events disrupt the life cycles of a vast number of species, who have adapted to the weather patterns that have developed over the past several millennia.
Paul O’Gorman of MIT, stated in Nature Geoscience that, for every 1°C in temperature increase, the atmosphere can hold 7% more moisture. The consequence of this is a marked increase in frequency and severity of extreme weather events; such as, the draughts, floods and hurricanes being recorded worldwide.
Although, extreme weather events and storm surges are having a growing impact on human lives and the global economy, those affected most by our changing climate, are the wildlife who call the threatened marine environment home.