Rescued seals released back to the sea by Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary
- Credit: Archant
A seal which was found with a discarded air filter wrapped around his neck has been released after being nursed back to health.
The creature was christened Relashio by staff who cared for him at Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary.
They said he was in so much pain he had to swim on his back and would have died a lingering death without treatment - another reminder of the danger to wildlife posed by plastic and other waste in our oceans.
Relashio, who had to be taught to swim naturally again, has now been returned to the wild with five other seals named, Riddikulus, Episkey Salsa, Stupefy and Apparate.
Riddikulus, was rescued on December 29 at Sea Palling weighing just 14.5kg. He was discovered at three weeks old with breathing difficulties and some small open wounds on his rear flipper.
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Episkey was discovered on the February 1 at Holkham Beach with a damaged right eye which required treatment. They have both now reached a healthy weight that will ensure a better chance of survival in their natural habitat.
Sarah Jones, Year 2 teacher at Hunstanton Primary School and Tracey Johnston, Year 5 teacher at Fakenham Junior school, found Relashio in April. They were invited to watch the seal release with their two classes.
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Nicky Nelson, the aquarist who has overseen the recovery of Relashio said :'We are really pleased with the recovery of all of the seals we will release. However, seeing Relashio's recovery after his horrific and life-threatening injuries has been particularly rewarding. Although he will be sorely missed, we are proud that we can give him the best chance of survival in his natural habitat.'
Nigel Croasdale, general manager at the Sea Life Sanctuary, said: 'All of the team are delighted that Relashio and our other rescued seals are healthy enough to be released back into the wild. Our dedicated seal rescue team continually do an incredible job at catering for every seal from the moment it arrives at the centre, and we are proud that we can give all of the pups the best chance of survival.'
The sanctuary rescues more than 50 seal pups from local coastal waters each year and cares for them in its seal hospital until they are healthy enough to be released.