Moment six rescued seals released back into the wild in Cornwall

  • Moment seals released into Cornish waters

Six seals which were rescued by a sanctuary have been released back into the wild in Cornwall.

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary rehabilitate pups injured by plastic pollution or during storms.

Animal care specialist Megan Gunnell said: "A lot of the cases we get in could have been caused by public disturbance or net entanglement - injuries which have been caused by people.

"It really feels like our responsibility to then resolve these problems and put these animals back in their own environment where they can be wild."

The charity saves the seals from a variety of spots along the Cornish coastline, but the six released today (13 April) went back into the sea at Porthtowan Beach.

All six seals were successfully returned to their natural habitats.

This season has been busy for the sanctuary - it has had around 50 seals brought to them for rehabilitation.

Megan said: "Usually a member of the public calls in a seal pup that's on the beach that they think is in trouble.

"We work really closely with British Divers Marine Rescue and usually they'll send one of their volunteers down if we're unable to go and they'll assess the seal on the beach.

"If it needs to be brought in then it'll be picked up and brought in and we'll get the vet to check it, give it any medication it needs and go through the rehab process to make it nice and chunky and healthy before we release them back into the sea."

This season has seen many surgeries, according to the sanctuary, including three eye removals and digit removals - one of the seals released today went back into the sea with one eye.

Surgeries are expensive, and it typically costs £3,000 to rehabilitate each pup.

The seals remain in the care of the sanctuary until volunteers think they are strong enough to survive again in the wild.

  • Animal care specialist Megan Gunnell on seal release

Their release usually takes place when the seals come off medication for infections or when they are healed from any surgeries needed.

They must hit around 30 kilos in weight before they get released.

The volunteers aim to keep the seals as wild as possible while the pups are in their care.

This means throwing fish in from outside of the pens so they do not associate their meal with humans and keeping the pups together.

The charity relies on donations to keep going, and welcomes visitors to the site.

They said: "Please come on down to the sanctuary, we've still got pups on site for you to see still going through their rehab journey."