IT took 25 people three days to rescue a lost grey seal pup stranded at 14km from the south Wexford coast at Rathmacknee.
The seal was eventually returned to the sea at Kilmore Quay, but only after volunteers spent many hours searching for the elusive animal, which is believed to have swum up the stream from the coast.
Ally McMillan, director of Seal Rescue Ireland, said that after an exhaustive search, the seal was taken to Kilmore Quay beach, 'where all involved watched him take in his new surroundings and hop into the sea with great delight'.
The seal story began on Saturday, November 12, when the seal was spotted on the side of the road just beside a stream in Rathmacknee, near Murrintown, by locals Michael D'Arcy and Ray Benson, who reported it to local Seal Rescue Ireland (SRI) volunteers.
When the seal was approached to try take a photo, he jumped back into the stream, which is believed to have swum up from the coast, and stayed there for day, evading the best efforts of SRI volunteers to capture him, although he ate a bucket of herring they had picked up at Kilmore Quay.
The volunteers returned on Sunday morning, and with no sign of the seal, it was hoped he had returned to the sea. However, they were sent video footage showing the seal heading up stream towards Murrintown.
On Monday, volunteers walked the stream from Murrintown Credit Union down towards where he had been last seen the previous day while others drove around checking under all bridges and parts of stream visible from the road, they then decided to head up to the start of the stream just north of Murrintown when the seal was seen 'bouncing through a garden on the side of the main road about half a mile from the stream with two local men trying to chase it to keep it off the road'.
The volunteers, along with the two local men managed to capture the seal, which was checked over before being returned to the sea. It swam out to sea for about 500 metres before resurfacing to take a look around.
Ally said she wanted to thank all those who had helped return to seal to calmer waters: Deirdre and Abby Slevin, Ray Benson, Mick Byrne, Jon Gethings, Alan Hinchy, Michael D'Arcy, Alice Miller, Jack Tim Murphy
Mags D'Arcy, Sam, Heather, Susanna and Emma Boxwell, Keith, Beth Ruth and Jeff Miller, John Kehoe, Ivan Donoghue, Séamus, Debbie and Triona Furlong, Shauna Murphy, Mel Robinson, Sam Brittain and 'the lady whose garden we eventually captured him in and other locals'.