World Animal Day 2021: Helping our furry and aquatic friends

Who wouldn’t want to help two seals as cute as Kane and Southgate when they became stranded on a beach on the South East coast? Or try to help the four dolphins who lost their way in the far reaches of Scotland?

It’s World Animal Day and we wanted to remind you of just a few of the times our Coastguard Rescue Teams have gone above and beyond to help our furry and aquatic friends this year. 

Some of HM Coastguard's aquatic pals (left to right): Girly the tortoise, Kane the seal pup, two beached dolphins (photo by BDMLR) and both Kane and Southgate together

It’s not our purpose – which is to prevent the loss of human life on the coast and at sea – but we always try to help if we can. We also understand that if we don’t step in, someone else might, and we don’t want to see anyone, including the animal, getting hurt trying. 


So, where possible, we have responded to calls across the UK about injured animals, working with the RSPCA, BDMLR and many others to ensure every living being, not just humans, get the best care and attention when in trouble at our coasts. Sadly, the outcome is not always the one we want – if you also find a deceased animal on the coast, please report it to the relevant authority. In the case of a whale or sturgeon, this is the Receiver of Wreck. 
Rescue round-up with our seal of approval  


On 10 July, our Southend Coastguard Rescue Team were called out to the beach to two seal pups (dubbed Kane and Southgate in the midst of Euro2020 mania) abandoned by their mother. The team provided safety cover and support to the RSCPA officers who caught the cute ‘sea dogs’ and took them away to be cared for. Big grins from the coastguard rescue officers that had up-close encounters with the seals. 


In June, four white-beaked dolphins were found alive on Balnakeil Beach near Durness. The dolphins, about 2m each, were in good health despite the stranding and alongside BDMLR officers, our Durness Coastguard Rescue Team were able to help – it was a joyous moment to watch them swim away together.  


Skegness Coastguard Rescue Team rode in to help reunite a lost horse with its rider in June, while Swanage Coastguard Rescue Team recruited a slow-moving new recruit with the arrival of tortoise Girly in September.

Coastguard Rescue Officers with some of the animal rescues

Goats go global  

And, finally, the Llandudno goats – and our Coastguard Rescue Team – were back in the limelight at the start of last month with their latest odd spot to graze on a rocky outcrop. As it turns out, they were in no danger and prompted Chris Smith, Senior Coastal Operations Officer at HM Coastguard, to say: “Our famous Great Orme goats are seeking worldwide attention again by finding their way on to one of the rocky outcrops at the coast.

“The goats are safe and not in danger and they roam freely across the area – as we saw in lockdown last year. 

“HM Coastguard urges you not to place yourselves in danger to view the goats. Stay well back from cliff edges and do not attempt to climb up or down cliffs unless you are properly equipped and trained to do so. Do not attempt to climb cliffs as a short cut and do not attempt to self-rescue yourself or your pet if you get into difficulty. 

“And remember, if you do spot a person in trouble, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.” 

That advice, whatever the animal and location, remains the same. Please do not put yourself in danger for a furry friend. Call the RSPCA, BDMLR, or – if in doubt – call us. 

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