independent

Tuesday 17 September 2019

Seals make a splash on release

CROWDS BID FAREWELL TO SUZY AND CHABBY ON CURRACLOE BEACH

PADRAIG BYRNE

A CROWD turned out at Curracloe beach on Saturday to bid a fond farewell to two Grey seals, Suzy and Chabby, as they made their way back into the sea and back into the wild after a stint at Dingle Wildlife and Seal Sanctuary.

Suzy, a Grey seal pup, was found in Rosslare Harbour in November last year by Kevin McCormack. Kevin was aided by Deirdre Slevin and they managed to get Suzy to the seal sanctuary. Suzy was only 3 to 4 weeks old measuring 2.5 feet in length and weighing only 12kg when she was found and was coughing, sneezing and very under weight with a fever. She was fed a sugary rehydration solution to rehydrate her, and then moved on to a fish soup milk replacement. Once she learnt how to eat fish she was moved into the nursery pools, the final stage of the rehabilitation process where normal social behaviour and competition for food can be learnt. One of the slower seals to pick up on the idea of eating fish and competing with the other pups, she took her time to gain the right amount of weight to be released. Chabby was found in Courtown by Carol Smith and Leah Spencer. He was 3 to 4 weeks old when found reaching only 2.5 feet in length and weighing only 13.5kg. Chabby was extremely underweight and had multiple infected wounds to his face and body. He went through the same process as Suzy, being rehydrated and taught to eat fish by himself before progressing to the pools, and he is now also the right weight to go home.

There was great excitement among children and adults alike as the boxes containing the two pups were brought down near the waters edge. When the boxes were opened, Chabby was first out of the traps and was quick to make a dash for the sea. Suzy however was a bit more reluctant and had to be coaxed out of the box. However once she got into the water, she seemed to be happy enough and both of them swam around by the shore for a while before heading off out to sea to join up with the rest of the seals that call the Wexford coast home.

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