SEA LIFE Sanctuary at Hunstanton release four seals back into the wild - each seal had its own ‘tale to tell’ about how it had been rescued in the first place

PUBLISHED: 07:43 20 March 2017 | UPDATED: 07:43 20 March 2017

Hunstanton SEA LIFE Sanctuary had their first official release of the season with four seals being released back into the wild. 
Grey seal pups Darth Vader, Jin, Rey & one yearling Han Solo, were all released at Hunstanton Beach on Friday morning.

Hunstanton SEA LIFE Sanctuary had their first official release of the season with four seals being released back into the wild. Grey seal pups Darth Vader, Jin, Rey & one yearling Han Solo, were all released at Hunstanton Beach on Friday morning.

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Hunstanton SEA LIFE Sanctuary had their first official release of the season with four seals being released back into the wild.

Hunstanton SEA LIFE Sanctuary had their first official release of the season with four seals being released back into the wild. 
Grey seal pups Darth Vader, Jin, Rey & one yearling Han Solo, were all released at Hunstanton Beach on Friday morning.Hunstanton SEA LIFE Sanctuary had their first official release of the season with four seals being released back into the wild. Grey seal pups Darth Vader, Jin, Rey & one yearling Han Solo, were all released at Hunstanton Beach on Friday morning.

Grey seal pups Darth Vader, Jin, Rey & one yearling Han Solo, were all released at Hunstanton Beach on Friday morning.

The planned release is a major operation involving several members of the sanctuary team. The rehabilitation pool was drained, and then each pup was carefully herded into their special designed stretcher which was then moved onto the beach to be safely released back into the wild.

Usually as soon as a pup has reached 35kg and has received a clean bill of health they are then released back into the wild. There are a variety of reasons as to why grey seal pups need to be rescued, from disease & malnutrition to being separated from their mum at just a few days old.

Rey, one of the first grey seal pups to be rescued this season arrived at the sanctuary after being found in Overstrand. Brought in by Nathaniel, one of our animal care experts who noticed she had a badly injured flipper and thus very concerned about her survival. “She was in a poor way when she arrived, underweight and lethargic but seeing the progress Rey has made and recovering from her injury. Watching her go was wonderful to see” said Nathaniel.

Han Solo, another seal that was rescued very early on in the season arrived to the sanctuary at a year old. He was found both dehydrated and with an injured flipper, by volunteers from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue. The sanctuary works very closely with organisations across Norfolk & Suffolk to ensure the best response times to rescuing seals in need and delivering the best possible care for seals in need of help.

Darth Vader, was found on Holkham beach at just 6 weeks old and severely underweight. At just 14Kg, it’s suspected that he was unable to fend for himself. Vader was so called after his incredible dark skin pattern.

Jyn, rescued on Boxing Day was found at Sea Palling. At only 2-3 weeks old it is thought she was separated from her mum. When she was found she still had her white coat, a protective layer to keep her warm whilst being left on the beach.

Natalie, one of the Animal Care Team at the Hunstanton SEA LIFE Sanctuary said “We are all so pleased to have been able to release the pups today; these releases are always particularly special and are such an important part of the sanctuaries work.”

“We´ll miss them because we´ve got to know them all so well,” she added, “but at the same time it will be great to see them back in the wild where they belong.”

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