Guest Blog: Seal Rescue Ireland – Adapting to New Challenges: SRI Amid the Coronavirus Crisis

Like many organisations, the impact of the coronavirus has meant that long-term friends of WiseOceans, Seal Rescue Ireland, are having to adapt to the ‘new normal’. Finding news ways to fundraise as well as continue to deliver their outreach programme are just some of the challenges. Find out how you can help.

A large part of the joy of working at Seal Rescue Ireland is getting to capture the public’s attention by sharing the story of what we do and why we are so passionate about it. We are devoted to spreading the message of ocean conservation and educating people about the importance of protecting our seas for healthy populations of seals to thrive.

Usually our visitor centre is open 7 days a week for groups, families, and people of all ages to enjoy a close-up look at the seals in our care and an educational tour. This is a fantastic way of conveying our mission of reducing plastic waste, fighting climate change, seeking sustainable alternatives, keeping water resources clean, and respecting wildlife.


For this reason, it was with heavy hearts that we made the decision to close our centre to the public as of the 13th March as per government recommendations. As much as we would love to continue engaging with the public, the community’s health and safety must come first, so we are whole-heartedly joining the effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For the first time ever, we are asking people to stay away until further notice.

While the visitor centre and gift shop are on hiatus, there is still plenty of work to be done behind the scenes. We have around 20 seals to look after, so our staff are busy keeping them healthy, fed, and their enclosures clean. Our decision to close is not only to avoid perpetuating this global pandemic, but to keep our staff healthy. If our team were to fall sick, we might not be able to continue caring for the seals we have promised to protect.

It has not been an easy time for the SRI crew, as many of our interns are from all over the world. Being away from their home countries, apart from their families and friends has certainly been difficult for staff to manage, but they are committed to being here for our rescue seals.

We have essentially pledged to self-isolate as a unit, living and working together and avoiding unnecessary interactions and social outings. The dedication of the staff is nothing short of inspiring! All cooped up together in each others’ space we’ve started to go a little loopy at times, we are certainly getting to know each other even better!

One of the main drawbacks of having to close down temporarily is that we are losing out on the donations and income generated by our gift shop on a daily basis. Following official advisories, we have also had to cancel any public events we had planned indefinitely. Outreach and events are one of our most important ways to fundraise, crucial to keeping the centre in operation.

Without the means to fundraise through events, Seal Rescue Ireland needs your help now more than ever! But how can you help?

  • Adopt a Seal: If you’re ready to become an honorary seal parent, have a look at our adoptions page to find out which adorable pups you can support. For a one-off donation, you can make a difference in that seal’s life and receive an adoption certificate, the seal’s story, and regular “pupdates” with photo and video content. An adoption makes a wonderful waste-free gift for kids, friends, and family members alike.

Also, in solidarity with the global efforts to help those most in need during this health crisis, we will be donating a portion of our proceeds to a Coronavirus frontline charity. If you adopt either ‘Prickly Pear’ or ‘Cardinal’ we will donate 50% to ALONE. ALONE is a charity that supports older people who may not have people in their lives to help with their basic needs such as secured housing, companionship and the means to access groceries, prescriptions, etc. This is particularly relevant now more than ever during this time where social isolation is not just an instance but a necessity for all.

We believe that it’s important to give back to other good causes, and to show solidarity within the charity sector. Similarly, we donated a portion of Adoptions proceeds in January to ‘Wildlife Rescue Sunshine Coast’, a charity doing incredible work responding to the devastating Australian bushfires that imperilled the lives of thousands of animals.

Click here to adopt Cardinal, Prickly Pear, or any of our other beautiful pups.

  • Share Our Posts: Even while we’re closed we’ll do our best to try and educate and entertain with amazing video and photo content of our seals through various social media channels. Look out for live streaming videos and other great updates. Follow us and share our posts so that we can reach a wider audience who may be interested in supporting us!
  • Start your own Facebook Fundraiser: Get your friends and family involved by raising funds for us through your Facebook page. You might choose to set a goal and promise to do something if your donors help you reach that goal. Is your birthday coming up? Maybe you can ask for contributions to your fundraiser instead of gifts. To start your own fundraiser, visit our Facebook Page.
  • Become a Member: From just €5 per month you can help us ensure that we always have the financial ability to meet the needs of all our pups in care. This stability is so important to us being that we only receive 5% of our funding from the government.
  • Donate: Big or small, any contribution is so important to us right now!

Whatever contribution you can make to helping us continue our work in this trying time would be greatly appreciated! More importantly though, keep yourself safe and healthy in these uncertain times. Let’s all come together by staying apart, to stop the spread and overcome this.

We are closely monitoring the latest guidance provided by the authorities and will provide updates on when our public activities will resume. We apologize to all of our supporters for this inconvenience, however our priority is to do our part by joining the nationwide effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 for the protection of the general public as well as our community.

Meet Cardinal, one of the seals for Adoption to support ALONE Ireland.
     

Thank you so much for your support!

Originally published here:

Read an ‘Interview with WiseOceans’ from Seal Rescue Ireland’s Education Manager for more insight into this great organisation.

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