Seal on the rocks!
An Arctic seal with an apparent dislike of the cold is gradually conquering his strange phobia…with the aid of a giant ice machine.

Sahara the hooded seal made international news when he twice spurned his native waters in the icy north in favour of the sun-drenched Mediterranean.

He first washed up in Morocco, from where he was flown back to the National Seal Sanctuary in Gweek, Cornwall, to recuperate before being released again near the Orkneys.
Instead of heading back towards Greenland, he turned south again and made his way to Spain…and his rescuers finally conceded defeat.

Although now a permanent resident at the Seal Sanctuary, however, his carers never entirely abandoned their ambitions to provide him with an environment 'a bit more like home.'

"We may not have had much of a summer, but it's been pretty balmy compared to the average summer temperatures of -10 to +10 centigrade up in the Arctic," said animal care supervisor Tamara Cooper.

Ipswich-based company Hubbard Ice Systems heard about Sahara's antics, and offered the Sanctuary a special machine that can churn out half-a-ton of ice every day.

Sahara fled to the opposite end of his enclosure when staff first started shoveling in the ice, but the cold treatment seems now to be working.

"It took a little while, but some memory from his pup-hood eventually seemed to surface and he came for a closer inspection,"said Tamara.

"Once he'd had a sniff and then slid over the top of it for the first time he found he actually likes it. "We don't think it will be long now before Sahara is a proper ice-loving Alaskan seal again."
Issued by The National Seal Sanctuary
For more details, please contact Rachael Vine on 01326 221361
Press Release date: 25th August 2008

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