Although seal rescue has remained a key component of the work of BDMLR, it has become progressively more involved in the response to stranded cetaceans in the UK. BDMLR were founder members of the Marine Animal Rescue Coalition (MARC), an affiliation of organisations with an active interest and involvement in the management of marine mammal stranding’s in the UK, with a primary focus of improving the response to live cetacean stranding’s. BDMLR attend over 450 incidents a year, with around 10% of those being cetacean rescues.
Every year, BDMLR trains new people from all walks of life to become volunteer Marine Mammal Medics. Since 1988 they have trained over 8,500 volunteers and are the only marine animal rescue organisation that covers England, Wales and Scotland. The charity has 20 whale rescue pontoons, 13 ambulance trailers, 50 rescue kits, 3 rescue boats and a special whale area disentanglement kit, all located at strategic points throughout the UK, as well as around 2,500 current medics on their database ready to assist and rescue marine animals in distress.
Coastwatch is proud that one of its own volunteers, David Devoy, is the Area Coordinator for Clydeside and Ayrshire. Along with a team of 60 medics these volunteers are ready to respond to events not only in this area but anywhere they are paged to attend.
BDMLR was formed in 1988 and are a voluntary network of trained marine mammal medics who respond to call outs from the general public, HM Coastguard, Police, RSPCA and SSPCA and are the only marine animal rescue organisation operating across England, Wales and Scotland. Not only are they called upon by the other emergency services, but they also train their staff and maintain links with them.
They have a wide range of equipment strategically placed throughout the country to deal with strandings of marine animals, oil spills, fishing gear entanglement and in fact any type of marine animal in trouble. This includes rescue boats, equipment trailers, whale and dolphin pontoon sets, a whale disentanglement kit and each area has a medic kit with essential supplies.
Since 1988, BDMLR have been involved in the rescue of marine wildlife after every major marine disaster, including the Braer shipwreck in Shetland, the Sea Empress grounding in Milford Haven and mass stranding’s of cetaceans around the UK. Seal rescue has remained a major component of their work, with BDMLR medics rescuing seals in all seasons. Over the years, many hundreds of seals have been helped, BDMLR working closely with specialist rehabilitation facilities to ensure their long term care and eventual return to the wild.