The National Seal Sanctuary carried out its first official release of 2012 as five seal pups were simultaneously released back into the wild.
The pups regained their freedom on Tuesday 17th January after months of patient care and feeding from the Sanctuary’s dedicated rescue team.
Grey seal pups Finn, Ron, Andy Murray, Marti Pellow and David Attenborough were released on Gwithian Beach at 11am. As hoped, the seals were excited to find themselves near the sea and headed into the surf without hesitation.
Of the five, Ron is the pup who has been on the longest road to recovery, and whose release provided the most satisfaction for the Sanctuary’s Animal Care Team.
Ron was transferred to the Sanctuary after sustaining a critical injury to his rear flipper, suspected to have been caused by an infected bite from another seal in the wild.
“It was touch and go as to whether he would lose his entire flipper due to a severe break.
The surgeon did an excellent job saving his limb, and it’s great to see that Ron has made a full recovery,” said Sanctuary team member, Tamara Cooper.
Seal pup Andy Murray also made a splash at the Sanctuary back in July 2011, as his release marked the official start of pup rescue season at the Sanctuary.
Andy, Finn, Attenborough and Marti Pellow all came to the Sanctuary throughout 2011 after being rejected by their mothers and suffering from dehydration and exhaustion in the wild. Their release has signalled the end to a six month long effort by the Sanctuary’s Animal Care Team to nurse the seals back to health.
The planned release was a major operation involving several members of the Sanctuary team.
The big outdoor convalescence pool was drained, and then each pup was herded into a stretcher which was secured at either end for the journey.
The five neatly trussed pups were then loaded in the back of a van for the short journey to Gwithian Beach, where they were placed on the sand and their restraints removed.
“The sound of the surf and the salt air did the rest. At first David Attenborough was a little hesitant but he soon realised what he was supposed to do and happily made his way into the sea,” said Tamara.
“He was helped along by Ron who eagerly headed straight into the waves. We’ll miss all the seals because we’ve got to know them all so well,” she added, “but at the same time it was great to see them back in the wild where they belong.”
ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL SEAL SANCTUARY