SOS logo S.O.S. Update National Seal Sanctuary
Issue 47
September 2010

Grey Seals
The Grey Seals in the Convalescent Pool have being enjoying interaction with the Animal Care Team over the last month and looking forward to feeding time.

Fatima as normal has been trying to stick her head in the bucket, when this does not get her extra fish she sits in the pool with her head in the air, eyes closed and smiling hoping the team will spot her and get a few extra fish thrown in Fatima’s direction.

Sheba has been enjoying ice blocks and spending time with the other seals, but it is a little too early in the breeding season and is showing no interest in Ray. Ray has taken up surfing in the Convalescent Pool especially when the pool is being cleaned.

The pool has a rubber ring and Ray likes to sit on top of it and wait for the pool to start to fill and then slide for one end of the pool to the other. Ray has also retrieved a bottle that a visitor had dropped in the pool. When Dan (ACT) asked Ray to go and get it he did as he was told and brought it back to Dan - well done Ray, maybe he is not as daft as we thought.
Did you know that a Grey Seal can hold its breath for 45 minutes
Anneka is being very energetic in the Nursery Pools making full use of them before our new patients arrive.

Lizzie has been taking full advantage of the top step in the warm weather we have been having. She has also been pulling faces at the visitors by sticking her tongue in and out.

Atlanta still has no fur but hopefully it will grow again in the Spring. She has also been coming out of the pool with Fatima at feeding time.
Snoopy at her training session and reluctant to get in her cage
Snoopy (photo above) has been having cage training to hopefully move her into a pool by herself where she might be happier. Normally Snoopy likes to hang out in nursery pool 1 and moans at all the other seals when they get too close.
Snoopy at her training session and reluctant to get in her cage
The residents in the Convalescent pool are enjoying music. We have at the Sanctuary a marine student doing a project on how seals respond to music. The project uses long plastic tube with speakers at the top and the other end of the pipe in the water. The student is playing two different types of music classical and soft rock, we will let you know which they prefer.

Marlin (photo below) moved from the Convalescent Pool to join our Grey Seals before the Summer. Over the last few months Marlin has settled into his new environment and has also started target training. Marlin seems to be better at his training in the morning as most afternoons we have to shout at Marlin to wake him up. He then slowly makes his way over to the side of the pool with little enthusiasm.
Yulelog has a little cut on his rear flippers which is being treated by the team and should heal over the next few weeks.

Flipper is doing well with his training even with his failing eyesight as he gets older, Flipper can be found most days sleeping on the steps in the corner of the pool.

Marlin, Flipper and Yulelog are all getting on well together and are becoming the best of friends.
Andy and Chaff
Andy and Chaff have enjoyed the summer and all the extra visitors at the Sanctuary and the extra fish at lunchtime thrown by the children visiting the Sanctuary. Both have unfortunately piled on a few extra kilos during the last few weeks, and Chaff now has a triple chin so we have upped their exercise programme hoping to shift the extra weight.

The programme includes getting the seals to follow us along the side of the pool both in and out the water and at feeding time throwing their fish to the other end of the enclosure so they have to swim after it.
Did you know
It can’t be all work and no play and if the boys have done well with their training and fitness, we have given them a treat of ice blocks, Chaff couldn’t wait for the ice to melt and managed to eat the fish frozen, we wondered did he get brain freeze similar to when we eat ice-cream?
Fur Seals
Common Seals
Our two Common Seals, Luna and Sija, have just come out of their breeding season, which runs from June to the end of August, and are now preparing for their annual moult, and so are very hungry and receiving extra fish. The Animal Care Team have also come up with new enrichment toys and have been treated to new balls which have already been ripped up and thrown to one side so its back to the drawing board and new ideas.

A member of the Animal Care Team is travelling up to Colchester Zoo on the 16th September 2010 to pick up another Common Seal. Babyface lost his partner Jasmine back in July and as Colchester have no plans to bring any more seals in to their collection, they contacted the Sanctuary and asked if we could look after Babyface in his final years. We hope that Babyface will be very happy here at the Sanctuary and will enjoy both his new companions.
Babyface at Colchester Zoo
Did you know
Sea Lions
The sea lions before the summer had their food increased and Diego was on 10 kilos of fish a day, now they have come through their moult we have weighed them and found them to be a little on the heavy side as Noito is weighing in around 205 kilos which is a little large for a Patagonian Sea Lion his age, so all have now had their fish reduced.

André is doing well with his training and Dan scored him 4/5, we have also started to train him to go in to the annex area if we need to separate the Sea Lions for any reason, we can do this safely for him. With André doing everything he is told during training, this means he is up to something, which I am sure he will let us know what it is very soon.
Sea Lions
Starsky and Hutch have been given a new enrichment toy a feed ball, similar to the ones we use for seals which we filled with crabs. It took them a little while to work out how to get them out.

Both otters had huge amounts of fun with a mobile phone that had slipped out of a visitor´s hand and ended up in the enclosure.

Starsky and Hutch ripped the back off the phone but were unsuccessful at getting the rest of it apart became bored very quickly and chucked it in to their river, the phone was retrieved, but unfortunately would not work again.
Penguins logo
All the penguins have now got names and to introduce you to them:- Ivy (red/black band), Gilbert (green band), Piran (pink band), Ruby (red/white band) and Lola (blue/white band) have settled in well. Lola is not eating many fish at the moment and when she gets given one she throws it into the water.
Did you know
Lola also thinks the other penguins are not hungry and she takes the fish out of their beaks and throws it into the water, so at the end of feeding all the penguins have to go in the water finding the fish on the bottom of the pool.

Gilbert is the roundest looking penguin and likes to spend his time playing with visitors in the underwater viewing areas.

The X-Factor has come to the penguin sanctuary and you can find Piran and Ruby standing out on the side with their wings around each other singing, I think a little more practice may be in order before standing in front of the judges.
Photo above: Gilbert interacting with a visitor at the underwater bubble window
Bracken and Muffin, our ponies, have been laughing at Tuppence as she is still wearing her coat to kept the flies off.

Tuppence has also taken a dislike to one of our regular volunteers and has bitten him on the forehead.

Stanley, Bella and Bluebell, our sheep, found an escape hatch in the field and managed to get in with the ponies to laugh at Tuppence in her coat.

Patrick and Flo have been keeping Monty company as sadly a few weeks ago Priscilla passed away and Monty has been a little lonely.

Andrew and Steve (photo below), our goats, have been getting out of the field and running around the Sanctuary, which seems to be a bit of surprise to our visitors.
Pup Rescue Season 2010-11
The Animal Care Team have now come up with a list of names for the new patients this winter, the team have chosen PIXAR films including Nemo and Dory from ‘Finding Nemo’ to Mike and Boo from ‘Monsters Inc´.
The Sanctuary also has a different coloured tag every season and this year we are using white. As yet we have received no calls. Thank You to everybody and came up with suggestion for the names this season.
If you do find a seal on the beach call the Sanctuary on 01326 221361.
Did you know
Animal Adoptions and Donations
Adoptions start from £25, click on this link for more information or email the adoption coordinator at

It can cost up to £1000+ to rescue rehabilitate and release a grey seal pup. Help Us to Help Them.

If you would like to donate now click on this link.