MING - 27th July 1999

A nine-month-old Grey seal tonight arrived safely at his new home after a 10 hour train journey covering 590 miles.
Ming the seal was found stranded and injured on the Isle of Mull in Scotland and was nursed back to health by marine experts in Oban.

But while he was at Oban Seal and Marine Centre, Argyll, staff found he was suffering from severe learning difficulties.

They were unable to offer him a permanent home, so today the mammal left Glasgow's Central Station and began the long journey to his new home in Cornwall.
Ming has been taken to the National Seal Sanctuary at Gweek, near Helston, which specialises in caring for the breed.

In order to minimise the stress, Ming's keepers decided the best way for him to travel was by train.

So with hundreds of other passengers, he boarded the 11.20am service to Penzance and arrived 10 hours later.
Ming did not take his place in one of the Virgin Train's carriages, instead, he was put into a container similar to a child's paddling pool and surrounded by water and ice to keep him cool and damp during the trip.

He was accompanied by two marine experts, who ensured conditions were suitable and that there was plenty of fish to eat.

A spokesman for Virgin Trains said Ming's journey south had gone well. "He was fine and the train was bang on time. Children went to see him in the Guard's van during the journey and some helped spray water on Ming to keep him cool. He is now in a very perky mood and looking happy."

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