Rescue mission enters 3rd day for 60 sheep trapped on sea cliff

A rescue operation to save 60 sheep trapped on a sea cliff has entered a third day across the water in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

Around 60 sheep were believed to be trapped at Mathry – possibly after being scared over by a dog, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).

Due to the steepness of the cliff (around 70-80m high), they were unable to get back up themselves and have been spread over a wide area in groups.

Specialist trained rope rescue and boat rescue teams from the RSPCA began the challenging operation on Monday, April 1.

They were also joined by officers from Mid and West Fire and Rescue Service’s rope rescue teams and Dyfed Powys Police’s rural crime team.

The rescue has involved officers abseiling down the seacliff, with the sheep rescued and bagged, and brought back to safety. Other sheep lower down the cliff have been rescued by officers on the boat rescue team from the sea.

RSPCA animal welfare officer Andrew Harris, who has been leading this operation, said the rescue is likely to go on for a few more days.

He said: “This has been a highly complex and challenging operation to ensure these sheep are brought to safety.

On Monday, around 40 sheep were successfully rescued and on Tuesday three sheep were taken to safety.

“Tuesday’s weather conditions made the operation a much more difficult task. A couple of sheep that were able to, were coaxed up the cliff themselves as well.

“Today, [Wednesday, April 3] the weather is pretty treacherous so we are currently monitoring the situation to see if any rescues can take place.”

Station manager Steve Richards, of Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service supported these rescue operations undertaken by the RSPCA technical rescue team.

“The operation was very challenging due to the exposed location of the sheep on a steep cliff face.

“It was a great learning experience to work alongside our colleagues from the RSPCA to rescue these stranded animals, who would have most certainly died without the combined efforts of the RSPCA and Fire Service.”

RSPCA has urged people and dog walkers to take care around farm animals and ensure that their dog is kept on the lead at all times when in or near fields containing livestock.