A one-eyed seal was safely returned to the wild this morning at Snettisham, after he was attacked and found stranded on Hunstanton beach during the summer.
Popeye, as the common seal was fondly named, has been cared for at Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary for the last four months after he was found on August 6 by Hunstanton beach warden Graham Wells.
As well as being alarmingly underweight at just 7.2 kilos when he was found, Popeye’s right eye had been bitten in an altercation with another seal, and was effectively useless.
Sanctuary manager Nigel Croasdale said: “His wound was also ulcerated and he had to undergo many weeks of intensive specialist care.
“Happily he has made a full recovery and there’s plenty of evidence that even totally blind seals can cope perfectly well in the wild, so we’re confident he’ll do just fine.”
Mr Wells joined the Sanctuary’s animal care team to give Popeye and another rescued pup Brad a proper send-off from Snettisham Beach earlier this morning.
Mr Croasdale added: “Brad was comparatively lucky to be suffering from just a few mouth ulcers which have long since completely healed.”
He said: “It’s always a bitter-sweet occasion returning these animals to the open sea.
“On the one hand it’s great to have them fit and healthy again and ready to go, while on the other hand it is impossible not to get a bit attached to every casualty we take in, and not to be a little bit sad when the time comes to bid them farewell.”
Click the link to SEE PICS OF POPEYE AND BRAD MAKING THEIR WAY HOME
Both seals will be fitted with identification tags lest they ever run into difficulties again, but Nigel and his colleagues hope for the seals’ sakes that they never see them again.