RSPCA officers have completed the dramatic rescue of a sheep from a Llandudno cliff ledge – amid fears the sheep had become trapped after running away from a dog.
The sheep rescue took place on Marine Drive, which is at the limestone headland of the Great Orme – and on land owned by the National Trust.
Five RSPCA members were needed to complete the rescue – with the sheep hauled to safety last Tuesday (14 January).
The rescue was completed by RSPCA inspectors Michael Pugh, Mark Roberts, Vicky Taylor and Nayman Dunderdale, in addition to RSPCA animal collection officer Will Galvin.
Difficult weather conditions and fears of the panicked sheep jumping from the ledge to “certain death” all had to be taken into account as RSPCA Cymru meticulously planned the rescue.
Officers abseiled down the cliff, which in total was some 100-feet high. The sheep was approximately 30-feet down, meaning officers had to ensure it did not tumble a further 70-feet to the ground.
It is not known why the sheep scaled down the cliff onto the ledge, but RSPCA officers say that – given the animal would not normally have ventured down in this way – there is a strong possibility the sheep was escaping a dog.
Fortunately, the sheep was fine despite the ordeal, and was returned to the farmer – who had initially sounded the alarm after spotting the missing member of his flock.
RSPCA inspector Pugh said: “This was a challenging rescue, in that it took very careful planning. Bad weather conditions, and fears of panicking the sheep all had to be taken into consideration.
“Often, when sheep find themselves in situations like this, there is a risk they can become very scared and jump from the cliff. Sadly, that would have meant a certain death. Timing was absolutely critical so we could bring this sheep to safely; and we had to closely monitor what grazing she had available.
“It seems very possible that the sheep ventured down the cliff onto this ledge to escape a dog. Livestock worrying is a real problem – and can have devastating effects so we continue to remind dog owners to never let their pets off leads with sheep or other livestock nearby.
“We abseiled down the cliff, and carefully put the sheep into a bag – hauling the lucky animal to safety. The RSPCA is very grateful to the National Trust’s park ranger who was able to help with this successful outcome. Rescuing farm animals like this is a big part of the RSPCA’s work, and we’re so delighted this was a happy ending.”
The sheep grazing the Great Orme are part of conservation farming project at Y Parc, owned by the National Trust. NT manager for Parc Farm, William Greenwood added: “It’s great that this story has such a happy ending! Without the brave efforts of both the RSPCA team and of Doug, our National Trust ranger, there would have been a very different outcome.
“Our sheep here are doing a vital conservation job protecting the unique landscape, flora and fauna of the Orme – we’re really glad not to have lost one of them. The tenant farmer, ranger and our volunteers do a fantastic job up there against the elements and in some challenging terrain, and occasionally need some extra help – thank you RSPCA for being there.”
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