What we have done so far…. ‘Keeping Seals Safe from flying rings’ – Campaign Update – August 2019
The campaign was launched at Winterton beach on July 24th. It was covered by a comprehensive feature on East Anglia ITV news that evening (with a follow up item on August 16th) and articles in the Eastern Daily Press and Great Yarmouth Mercury. Since then over 4,000 leaflets and 500 posters have been distributed in the coastal towns, villages and beaches of Norfolk and into Suffolk and Cornwall! This necessitated a second leaflet print run which was paid for by a private donation, the first thanks to Sea Changers.
Trustees and wardens from Friends of Horsey Seals (FoHS), members of British Divers, Marine & Wildlife Rescue, the RSPCA, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Gaywood Valley Conservation Group, family members, friends and Jenny, Co-ordinator of the campaign, have all helped with distribution on the ground and through social media networks.
Holiday and caravan parks, campsites, shops, cafes, libraries, leisure facilities, pubs, post offices, hotels, amusement arcades, supermarkets, galleries, museums, tourist information centres, bowling greens, ice cream vans, attractions such as Wells & Walsingham Light Railway and Priory Maze have all been happy to display the campaign publicity.
Norfolk WildlifeTrust, the RSPB and the Hawk & Owl Trust at Fakenham are promoting the campaign in some of their information centres.
The seal trip operators at Morston Quay and Blakeney – Beans Boats, Temples Seal Trips and Ptarmigan have all taken posters to display on their boats and leaflets at their booking points.
FoHS information trailer and wardens were in action on Horsey Gap Beach on Sundays August 18th and 25th highlighting the dangers of flying rings to seals.
Awareness of the dangers to seals of flying rings and similar dog rings and Frisbees has been identified through the distribution questionnaires as zero to high. As expected visitors to the coast seem generally to be less aware also local residents and businesses have varied a lot in their knowledge of the problem. What is clear is that as soon as people, adults and children alike, see the poster and leaflet the leap in their awareness is immediate. Overwhelmingly sympathy and concern has been expressed for the stricken seals.
Blakeney Harbour has included a feature on the campaign in their e-newsletter for their 600 members.
Sea Life Centre at Hunstanton said they would display the campaign publicity and incorporate the dangers of rings in their seal talk.
North Norfolk District Council is helping with further distribution of the publicity to Holt and Sheringham Country Parks and the Lifeguard Service.
Parish Councils have been contacted and are lending their support through displaying the campaign poster on Parish noticeboards, forwarding the publicity to Councillors and putting it onto their websites and facebook pages. They are also providing valuable links to editors of local magazines and newsletters to include the campaign in their editions.
25 primary and 10 secondary coastal schools were contacted with project material to engage pupils with the campaign. Whilst it was near to the end of term 9 schools responded and some were able to send back the children’s work.
What message does the seal give?
‘He is saying ‘help me’ because it is not his fault he can’t get out of the ring’
(Acle Primary School pupil)
‘Yes it makes us very sad, you don’t always realise what could happen if you lost or forgot your flying ring’
(Castle Acre Academy)
Do you have any other suggestions to help the seals?
‘Ban them (flying rings) from the beach…going to assemblies…providing a free pack for schools..more (litter) bins on beaches…’
(Stalham Academy 7-11 years)
Thank you everyone who has helped so far and please keep up the great work…!!