Seal pup on French beach after being nursed back to health by RSPCA carers

A seal sitting in shallow water on a beach
Has Been the seal was spotted by a photographer on a beach in Dunkirk Credit: Chris Vanhove

A seal pup rescued from Essex as a severely underweight orphan has been spotted fit and well sunning himself on a beach in France.

'Has Been', as the RSPCA team at East Winch wildlife centre christened him, was taken into the animal charity's care in June 2020.

He was found abandoned at Shoeburyness weighing less than 10 pounds, and it took manager Alison Charles' team five months to nurse him back to full strength.

She said: "He was such a tiny little fella when he came into our care, we had to work hard to get his weight back up - and as with all our orphan seals it is a long road to recovery for them."

Has Been was brought up to a weight of 38.5kg before being released into The Wash in November.

Since then he has made the long journey to France, and was spotted in Dunkirk earlier this month by photographer Chris Vanhove.

Alison added: "We were so delighted to hear that Has Been had been spotted alive and well - and that he was all the way over in France.

"We tag our seals before release so they can be monitored, which is how Has Been was identified on the beach."

According to the RSPCA, it is normal for seal pups to be left alone for short periods of time, and anyone concerned should monitor the pup for 24 hours to see if its mother returns.

The rescuers at East Winch have released 75 seals back into the water in the past 12 months, with 29 currently being cared for.