Rare Sighting
Arctic Seal Takes a Wrong Turn

Hunstanton SEA LIFE Sanctuary is currently on the lookout for a rare Arctic seal spotted on its long journey home and possibly lost.

On Saturday 28th January 2017 the animal care team received a call from a member of the public along Snettisham beach who came across a large seal resting.

Nathaniel Stephenson who attended the call-out explained "We thought this was going to be just your normal call-out, however once we had seen the seal it was clearly not your normal common or grey seal that we find along the Norfolk coastline."

"This seal appeared to be in good condition and seemed to be resting, though this seal was one and a half times the size of our largest resident seal, sally, who weighs approximately 100kg kilos."
Harp Seal
"After further examination we noticed a flipper tag which identified where the seal was last rehabilitated, we contacted Pieterburen Seal Rehabilitation and Research centre in the Netherlands who confirmed the flipper tag and our suspicions that it was in fact a Harp Seal called summer, which was rescued in October 2016".

"This is truly a rare sighting as the last Harp seal they encountered was over 10 years ago and didn´t expect such a special guest any time soon. When she was found she was underweight, however, she made good progress and was released on the 18th January 2017".

Harp seals live in the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, more familiar with sea ice then sandy beaches. This type of species is highly migratory, travelling vast distances where its hunting ground is covered with Arctic sea ice as it expands and contracts throughout the year. Harp Seals pup are covered in a white fluffy fur to protect them against the harsh arctic conditions, once fully grown they lose this fluffy layer and can be identified by their harp-shaped skin pigmentation on their backs.

"This seal should be treated just like any other seal, we advise guests to keep their distance to reduce the likely hood of it becoming stressed and would like to ensure the public that it poses no additional danger to walkers, bathers or dogs" said Seal expert Nathaniel Stephenson.

"We hope dog walkers and beach users keep a lookout for this incredibly beautiful and rare seal as we would like to ensure it remains safe and are able to track its location. If sighted please call Hunstanton SEA LIFE Sanctuary on 01485 533576" said Kieran Copeland.

Press Release issued by the Hunstanton SEA LIFE Sanctuary
For more details please contact: Adam Makinson on 01485 533576
Date: 2nd February 2017

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