independent

Friday 28 April 2017

Wild thing Slinky says farewell to rescuers

SECRET VALLEY TEAM RETURNS SEAL PUP TO THE SEA

A fully recovered Slinky the seal returns to the sea after being nursed back to health at Secret Valley Wildlife Park.
A fully recovered Slinky the seal returns to the sea after being nursed back to health at Secret Valley Wildlife Park.

ELAINE FURLONG

SECRET VALLEY Wildlife Park released their first ever rescued Grey Seal last Sunday back to the beach that he had been rescued from nearly two months prior.

Slinky was returned to Garrettstown Beach in Cork some 54 days later weighing 40 kg, three times his rescue weight.

The little seal pup was spotted by some local surfers who tried to coax him back into the water. However, he grabbed the attention of a local teenage girl who rang the Chairman of the Irish Seal Sanctuary who arranged for a local woman to attend the scene to observe and ultimately retrieve Slinky from the beach.

Slinky was simply too weak and starved to survive without intervention. The following day he was transported to Secret Valley Wildlife Park for rehabilitation. This was the very first seal taken in by Secret Valley. With extra supervision and care,

Slinky began to thrive receiving regular feeds of herring in his outdoor enclosure equipped with his own pink bath-tub. He steadily came to a healthy, weaning weight of 40 kg ready to return to his home.

The word about Slinky's release was spread far and wide via social media and good wishes plus farewell messages came bounding in.

Despite the rough, stormy weather, a group of about 20 friendly locals came along to see Slinky up close and bid him farewell.

With the atrocious weather conditions, a nearby sheltered bay by Dooneen Pier was selected as the only release site option. It turned out to be incredibly calm in comparison to the original site of Garrettstown Beach which was being pummelled by ferocious southerly winds creating large swells and waves that would have been very unfriendly towards an untrained seal trying to readjust.

Slinky headed into the water and quickly started to enjoy his new environment.

'What a great feeling to see a wild creature as gentle as Slinky return to the wild,' said Ann O'Connor of Secret Valley Wildlife Park.

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