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30 November 2017

Seals Epic Journey To The North Coast

Exploris Aquarium and Seal Sanctuary have had a busy season to date with their seal rehabilitation programme and this week released two rescue seals, Albert and Hans, back to their new life in the wild at Ballintoy.

Ann Moreland, General Manager, explains, “We receive and record a high volume of calls direct to our dedicated seal helpline and our team spring into action, reviewing, assessing and where necessary, rescuing and returning the injured or orphaned pup to our rehabilitation unit where our team can care for them around the clock, if necessary. “

Ann continued, “For our first release this season we have chosen to visit the North Antrim Coast in acknowledgement of the continued support from DAERA and the Conservation Team at the Coastal Zone in Portrush, and to return one of our seals Albert (named after the world-renowned scientist Albert Einstein) to his original location and hopefully into the common seal colony that exists, just off the North Coast.”

Joe Breen, DAERA Marine and Fisheries Division says “DAERA has had a long and successful partnership with Exploris in the protection and conservation of Northern Ireland’s seal populations. I still remember the day we were called out to Albert, a small sad individual with a cut to his face who was grossly underweight. It’s hard to imagine that when you see his condition now, and comforting to know that he is fit and well, and ready to be released back into his natural wild environment.

Two rescue seals, Albert and Hans, were brought to Ballintoy. Hans, a common seal, arrived at Exploris on July 31 from Mid Island, Greyabbey. He was approximately two weeks old and had sustained a very nasty cut to his lower left jaw. He was named after the Austrian Hans Hass who was the pioneer of underwater cinematography.

Both seals received extensive medical care from veterinary practitioners, to ensure infections were kept at bay and they were housed in the hospital pens before they were well enough to start their journey to rehabilitation.Both now weighing over 40kg, and having produced a thick layer of blubber to keep them warm during the winter months, Hans and Albert were released at low tide to give them the best possible start to returning to the wild. Both have also been inserted with a microchip to help identify previously rehabilitated seals.

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