Sanctuary seals its success as pups freed
A baby seal found injured and seriously underweight when it was just three weeks old was released back into the wild at the weekend.
'Buddy Holly' was one of three grey seal pups set free into the Atlantic having spent the past three months being cared for by volunteers at a wildlife sanctuary.
'Buddy Holly', 'Cookie' and 'Louise' took their first shuffle toward the water at Beal Ban beach in Ballyferriter, Co Kerry.
All three had been cared for by volunteers at the Dingle Wildlife and Seal Sanctuary. Now, it is hoped they will join the grey seal colony of the Dingle peninsula.
Between 60 and 80 seal pups are rescued each year around the coast of Ireland and 99pc survive, according to the Irish Seal Sanctuary in Garristown, Co Dublin.
Volunteer at the Kerry rehabilitation facility, Sarah Forde said Buddy Holly weighed just 11kg when he was found in October.
"He was very underweight for his age and had a lot of injuries and a bone infection in his mouth," she said. Now, three months later, he's a healthy 44kg, the proper weight for a pup his age and in the next two years as he reaches maturity he'll grow to around 300kg.
The two other seals had been rescued in a similar condition from beaches in Co Kerry, after they were abandoned by their mothers.