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Moving the seal care center of the Baie de Somme

About the project

For 30 years, we have been studying and protecting the seals of the Somme Bay. Up until today,
the young seals which had been stranded on the beach were cared for in our rescue centre
situated on a piece of land belonging to the "Bird House" and which we have had to give back.

So, at present, we have no longer got a centre to accommodate the first seals of the season
arriving at the beginning of July. We must make every effort to be able to accommodate 8 of them
as early as June and as many as 16 in July in Abbeville, where we have just acquired a completely
bare piece of ground!!

For this project therefore we urgently require an important human and financial aid.


Since 1986, our programme has consisted in the study and protection of the seals of the Somme
Bay. This site includes nearly 60% of the French harbour seal population. The aim of our action is
to maintain a viable population of seals, by preventing them from being too frequently disturbed
and from being preyed on by poachers. It is also paramount that the users of the estuary be made
fully aware of the natural evolution of the colony.

A beached seal? We intervene.
When a seal is found beached alive, it is transported to our rescue centre. There it is recorded and
receives first aid.
Beaching is often the consequence of a premature separation of the mother-baby and sometimes
the result of a wound or illness. In all cases, it has not been fed for a certain time and is
On arrival, it is placed in quarantine, is rehydrated then a veterinary expert is contacted for a
health check.

Seals care center

Once the seal presents signs of “good hydration”, it is fed. The food first of all consists of fish soup
given using a gastric probe.
After a certain time, it is possible to feed it whole fish. As it becomes more autonomous, the seal
is then capable of feeding itself from fish at its disposal in its pool.
After several days of feeding itself and when its weight allows, it is transferred into a large outdoor
pool where it must build up its protective coating of fat, develop muscles by swimming and benefit
from natural light.

Once ready, it is equipped with a numbered ring and a bright coloured plate to facilitate its remote
Then it is released into its natural environment. On average, it will have spent 3 months in the
rescue centre.

Seals return to the wild ...


Currently, we are not able to accommodate the beached seals because our rescue centre does not
exist any more.
Our former site (Lanchères) was located in a flood risk area (according to the Flood Risk
Prevention Plan PPRI), the volunteers and employees on the location could not remain there any
We must move all our premises, our pools, our medical equipment, etc.

Where to?
We therefore had to find another site very quickly. It is located Rue Dingeon at Abbeville ( about
twenty kilometres from the Bay).

Here is the site! 7000 m2 entirely bare.

What remains to be done?
Clear the undergrowth, dig trenches for the evacuation of waste water, stabilise the ground in order
to move the existing modular structures (Algeco type), connect water and electricity, lay a fence,
install a portal and a gate according to standards, install the pools, etc etc

To give you an idea of what the centre will look like once the work is finished, here is our old
rescue centre :

What is the timing?
May 18th, 19th and 20th: stabilisation of the ground, laying of foundations (by professionals)
May 23rd and 24th: laying of building blocks for the Algeco type modular premises (by volunteers)
June 1st: removal of the existing structures and laying of fence (by professionals)
From June 2nd to June 14th: installation, connections, etc (by volunteers and employees)
around June 15th: the first seals are likely to arrive at the centre. We ought therefore to be
capable of accommodating 8 young seals immediately.

How to help?
Any help will be welcome! You can relay this page on your social networks, speak of this to those
around you, print flyers on our website and distribute them to the people likely to be interested by
this action. Or then, if you work for a TV channel, radio or other, do not hesitate to get in touch with
your publication director!
More simply, you can also click on the button top right to donate.

Why ask for assistance by crowdfunding?
We have been supported by many volunteers for years. This priceless human mutual aid has
enabled us to develop our activities : studies, informing the public, and protection of the marine
mammals for decades. Unfortunately this year, in spite of the constant increase in the number of
volunteers, the moving of the seals and the creation of our new health care centre is likely to
jeopardise the very existence of our association and its activities.

The banks have refused to help us with a loan. We therefore find ourselves faced with the
obligation to finance the care centre with our own funds (security) even if this puts our association
in danger...

The idea came gradually, in the course of time, that a participative financing could help us to
acquire this new centre in the middle of the Somme Bay.

Indeed numerous volunteers coming from all over France and even from abroad help us every
year with studying and protecting the colony and tending to it in the centre. They thus led us to
prefer this kind of financing in order to be able to take part in it rather than a call for a classic

Picardie Nature has practically no funds of its own and the latter have to make it possible to cope
with the unexpected.

Also we made a precise budget so as to be able at least to function in June. This budget reached
the sum of 39000 euros. As we cannot do anything other than take charge of these young
beached seals we decided to at least appeal for donations for half of the sum and to finance the
rest… We must make this operation a success.
We are therefore asking for 18000€.

What are the funds for?

How will the money be used ? And how will the collection be used ?
44% for the purchase and installation of the fence, the portal, the gate built to standards and an
Algeco type modular structure.
26% for the trenches, the stabilisation of the ground and the water and electricity connection
18% for the complete removal of the existing structures of our old centre
8% various expenses (hiring of equipment for scrub clearance, purchase of construction blocks,
4% for the Ulule commission

What about any money beyond the set objective of 18000€?
It will be obviously very welcome!
Of course, if we obtain more that would be brilliant because that would make it possible for us to
continue our protection projects.

What about counterpart?
For years our choice has been not “to waste” the donors' money and the volunteers' time by using
the money only for the cause to which the donor has contributed. Each donation that we receive is
entirely dedicated to the cause to which we are committed.

Each donor will receive news regularly by email of the evolution of the health care centre, news of
the seals collected and cared for as well as an invitation to be present at their release in their
natural environment.

About the project owner

Picardie Nature, a non-profit association created in 1970 and comprised of citizens working for the
protection of nature and the environment in Picardy (Somme, Oise, Aisne). The action of the
association is totally aimed at the defence of general interests for the benefit of present and future
generations. It is a member of France Nature Environnement (FNE) and approved by the Ministries
of Education and Environment.

Picardie Nature revolves around 4 poles:

- Wildlife Observation
- Sustainable development ensuring continual observation of the environment
- information campaigns to find out about different aspects of nature
- wildlife protection

Find us on the Web!

Website :

Seals protection and care (Picardie Nature) :

Facebook :