Eight abandoned seal pups released back into the sea at Hunstanton
- Credit: Ian Burt
Just weeks ago they were fighting for their lives after being abandoned on the beach.
But today, these eight common seal pups are swimming happily in the sea after being nursed back to health.
The animals were released in west Norfolk today having spent the past few months recovering at Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary.
Each one was rescued between June and October this year from coastal areas across the county.
Nigel Croasdale, general manager, said his team had saved a record number of more than 60 seal pups over the past 12 months.
He explained the increase in rescues was largely to do with the rising number of common and grey seal populations along the coast.
Demand has also increased as the sanctuary is now one of just two places in Norfolk that cares for injured pups.
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The latest batch include Lara, who was only five days old and weighed just 9kg when she was spotted by a member of the public at Hunstanton beach.
Meanwhile, Jiggly Puff, rescued in August, suffered cuts to her rear flippers and was three weeks old when she was abandoned.
Mr Croasdale said the sanctuary was at full capacity at times during the summer, with eight or nine pups being treated at once.
'Sometimes they are abandoned and have only just been born, whereas others are underweight and quite poorly,' he added.
'Normally we would be releasing two to three seals at a time because before they get released they need a clean bill of health.
'You need to be sure you are releasing a seal with the right about of body fat reserves, and it just so happens that this batch is good to go.'
One of the 'luckiest' seals released yesterday was a pup called Ash, who was seriously ill when rescued.
Team member Nathaniel Stephenson said: 'We were not expecting him to make it, but he's our little warrior. Not only did he pull through but he is now one of the liveliest of the group.'
The sanctuary is now preparing for this year's grey seals to be born over the winter.
Have you rescued an unusual animal? Call Luke Powell on 01603 772684