A momentous occasion for Skegness’ Natureland was marked on Thursday morning, October 22, with the release of the 700th rescued seal.
The privilege of releasing the 700th seal was bestowed upon Skegness Mayor Coun George Saxon and Mayoress Julie Saxon.
In a double seal release, the sanctuary went one better, also releasing seal number 701 back into the wild.
Continuing this year’s theme of naming the rescued seals with names beginning with the letter ‘B’, the two seal pups - Biscuit (number 700) and Basil (number 701) were carried by seal sanctuary staff via two cages and a trolley across the Seaview Pull Over car park and onto Skegness beach and ushered towards the water’s edge. Biscuit was rescued on August 23, 2014, from Chapel Point, Chapel St Leonard’s when she was about four weeks old, orphaned, and underweight with a small wound near her rear flippers.
Basil was rescued on Skegness’ South Parade beach on July 30, 2014, when he was about two weeks old, again orphaned and very thin, with a swollen and infected jaw.
Both seals were put on antibiotics hidden inside fish at meal times.
Basil was given rehydration fluids and Biscuit a worming injection.
Initial treatments take place in Natureland’s purpose-built Seal Hospital which doubles up as an ‘intensive care’ and quarantine area.
In the wild, seal pups usually feed on their mother’s milk for the first four weeks, so, while in the Seal Hospital pups are taught to feed on fish, before being released into the rearing pool, where they learn to compete with others for food.
Duncan Yeadon, director at Natureland, said: “It gives us great pleasure to be releasing our 700th rescued seal pup. Our staff work very hard to care for the seal pups in the very early stages of their life and it is very satisfying that we give the seals a second chance in life.”
From rescuing a seal pup, to releasing it back into the wild takes Natureland approximately three months and costs approximately £2,000.
Natureland’s ‘Friends of the Seal Hospital’ scheme helps to fund this and all donations go towards food, medicine, equipment and running costs.