[The Hunstanton SEA LIFE Sanctuary]

Blind and injured seal washes up on
Sanctuary's doorstep

A blind and desperately sick seal hauled itself out of the North Sea onto a boatyard slipway...just yards from a busy seal rescue centre.

The two-year-old grey seal′s amazingly fortunate choice for what it may have thought would be it′s final resting place could yet save its life. Animal care workers at nearby Hunstanton SEA LIFE Sanctuary first spotted the seal struggling weakly at the tide edge almost directly in front of the building.

Two of them, Kyle Walker and Tina Houchin, dashed to its aid...but before they reached the beach a passing dog charged at the seal and forced it back out to sea.

″We could see even from a distance that this was a very poorly animal,″ said Tina, ″so we were not too surprised to receive an emergency call two hours later from a family a short distance further down the seafront, telling us a sick seal had hauled out on a slipway.″

The weak and battered seal - flippers badly gashed and sporting several other ugly and infected wounds - was quickly taken to the Sanctuary′s indoor hospital.

″He has one eye missing completely and the other is clearly useless,″ said Tina. This has prompted staff to christen him Stevie the Wonder seal.

″We cleaned up all his wounds as best we could and put him on antibiotics. He has already recovered a bit of strength and energy but at the moment his survival prospects are still no better than fifty-fifty.″

Stevie has very quickly captured the hearts of the whole Sanctuary team, however, and all are keeping fingers crossed that he makes a full recovery.

″Although there′s some evidence of blind seals having survived in the wild, the state of Stevie would suggest he isn′t quite so adaptable,″ said Tina.

″So if he recovers we′ll need to find a good, permanent home for him, possibly at our sister attraction the National Seal Sanctuary in Cornwall.″

″We would be able to accommodate Stevie for a couple of years, but he will then outgrow the facilities we have here. Our own residents seals are the much smaller common variety.″

For more details contact: Nigel Croasdale on 01485 533576.

Press Release date: 21st March 2006

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Hunstanton SEA LIFE Sanctuary / hunstanton@sealsanctuary.co.uk