May the tides be with you - Star Wars seals released back into the wild in Hunstanton
- Credit: Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary
In their first official release of the season, four grey seals named after Star Wars characters have been released back into the wild by Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary.
Darth Vader, Jyn, Rey and Han Solo were reared at the sanctuary after being rescued on Norfolk beaches as a result of injury or poor health.
Rey was found in Overstrand at the beginning of the season with a badly injured flipper. She was brought to the sanctuary by animal expert Nathaniel who was concerned for her survival.
He said: 'She was in a poor way when she arrived, underweight and lethargic but seeing the progress Rey has made and recovering from her injury. Watching her go was wonderful to see.'
Han Solo was just one years old when he was found by volunteers from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue with an injured flipper and very dehydrated.
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Darth Vader, named for his dark skin pattern, was found on Holkham beach at just six weeks old and severely underweight. At just 14kg, it's suspected that he was unable to fend for himself.
Jyn was 3 weeks old when she was rescued on boxing day at Sea Palling, it is thought she was separated from her mother.
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All the seal pups have made a good recovery and were released from Hunstanton beach on Friday, March 17.
They were carefully herded into their specially designed stretcher before wading back into the sea.
Natalie, one of the animal care team at Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary, said 'We are all so pleased to have been able to release the pups, these releases are always particularly special and are such an important part of the sanctuaries work.
'We´ll miss them because we´ve got to know them all so well,' she added. 'But at the same time it will be great to see them back in the wild where they belong.'
The sanctuary works very closely with organisations across Norfolk & Suffolk to ensure the best response times to rescuing seals in need and delivering the best possible care for seals in need of help.
Usually as soon as a pup has reached 35kg and has received a clean bill of health they are then released back into the wild.
The news comes after six seals were released into the river at Sutton Bridge in Lincolnshire by RSPCA's East Winch Wildlife Centre, near King's Lynn.