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 2012 after months of patient care and feeding from the Sanctuary's dedicated rescue team.

Grey seal pups Marti Pellow (photo right), Finn, Ronseal, Andy Murray 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.
Photo of Marti Pellow taken by Sue Sayer of the Cornwall Seal Group
Ronseal Of the five, Ronseal (photo left) 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.

Ronseal 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 Ronseal has made a full recovery," said Sanctuary team member, Tamara Cooper.
Seal pup Andy Murray (photo right) 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.

Marti Pellow, Andy Murray, Finn and David Attenborough 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.
Andy Murray
The planned release was a major operation involving several members of the Sanctuary team. The big outdoor convalescent 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.
Photo of David Attenborough taken by Sue Sayer of the Cornwall Seal Group "The sound of the surf and the salt air did the rest. At first David Attenborough (photo left) 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 Ronseal 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."
Press release issued by: The National Seal Sanctuary
For more details please contact: Kaylie Finn on 01326 221361
Date: 26th January 2012

Website Editor´s Note - Photos (top right & bottom left) were kindly provided by Sue Sayer of the Cornwall Seal Group