‘This is the best part of our job,’ said GSPCA manager Steve Byrne.
‘It’s why we do what we do. It’s magical to see them go back to where they belong.’
The two seals, India and Joey, were rescued as days-old pups. Mr Byrne said most seals rescued by the GSPCA have somehow been separated from their mothers and are found unwell and underweight. India, a Guernsey-found seal pup, was rescued in March. Joey, a Jersey seal pup, was rescued in November 2020. They have been in the care of Geoff George, head of marine mammals at the GSPCA, ever since.
‘It’s always lovely to release them back into the wild where they belong,’ said Mr George.
The GSPCA team hauled the two crated seals down a boat slipway. Mr George opened the doors and the two pups tentatively hopped out to check their surroundings. Joey, described by Mr Byrne as a very grumpy seal, barked at India along the way. India took straight to the sea and was out of sight within several minutes. Joey required some more encouragement as he swam around the slipway and hesitated among nearby rocks and tide pools.
‘Both were so thin and unwell when they were rescued and have been through a lot but they are now both ready for the wild,’ Mr Byrne said.
The seals both had clean bills of health from vets and weighed approximately 50kg. Two more seals still remain in GSPCA care.
‘We will still have Titan the Guernsey seal pup and Porkpie the Cornish seal pup, who have a little way to go until they are ready,’ said Mr Byrne.
Usually, seals are released into the sea from Jethou but due to GSPCA time constraints, India and Joey became the first rehabilitated seals to be released from Guernsey shores. He said any swimmers that come into contact with wild seals should stay well away from them.
‘They are wild animals. If someone sees a seal that needs to be rescued, they should stay away and contact us for help.’
For this reason, the exact location of the seal release is not being released.