Rare black grey seal admitted to rescue centre after being found on beach

A rare grey seal pup with black fur has been admitted to a rescue sanctuary after being found on a beach.

The female pup, named Liquorice by staff at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, is estimated to be around 10 weeks old.

Liquorice is melanistic – meaning she is completely black from head to toe – which is seen in one-in-400 grey seals.

She was taken to the sanctuary in Gweek about a week ago after being spotted by local walkers on a nearby beach.

On arrival, it was found she had breathing difficulties, a small wound and appeared to be very underweight.

The seal was rescued from a nearby beach (Cornish Seal Sanctuary/PA)
The seal was rescued from a nearby beach (Cornish Seal Sanctuary/PA)

Tamara Cooper, curator of the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, said: “It’s not often we see melanistic pups, especially female ones, and even rarer to see them coming through our own doors.

“Liquorice really needed some help after she was spotted quite high up on the beach, and it was quickly agreed she should come in.

“She’s a beautiful pup, and we’re pleased that she is now in the place where she can get the best care for what we hope will be a successful return to the wild.”

Melanism, caused when too much of the pigment melanin has been produced, appears in seals by giving them black eyes, fur and nails.

The condition is rarer in female seals, who are typically lighter in colour than males.

Jana Sirova, general manager at the sanctuary, said visitors during the February half term would be able to see the seal in the nursery pools.

She said: “It’s perfect timing to come and meet Liquorice.

“Not only do we have a number of events happening throughout half term, we also have our local annual pass sale on which means any local families visiting us this February will receive a discount.

“It’s been a very busy pup season for our animal care team and there are plenty still here on site.

“With more than 40 pups already through our doors this winter, every visit makes a difference.”