Janie, the seal pup rescued by two sisters in Murrisk last July, is in the final stages of her recovery and is expected to be released back into the wild in the next few weeks.
The baby seal was just seven days old when she was left stranded along the shore below Murrisk Abbey. She remained there for up to three days before being rescued by sisters Sheila Hulme and Helena Hoban from Carrowkeel, Murrisk.
Janie, as she was later named, had suffered horrific injuries, including a damaged eye and bites to her neck, presumed to have been inflicted by a dog as she lay on the shore.
She was taken to a vet in Loughrea where she was treated for her her injuries and for dehydration, and was later brought to the Seal Sanctuary in Dingle, Co Kerry.
Due to her severe injuries and her young age, it was not known if Janie would recover enough to allow her to be released into the wild, but her progress has astonished the sanctuary’s staff.
When Janie first arrived in Dingle in July, she weighed just 9kg and was still only feeding on milk, but less than three months later she has learned how to eat fish on her own. She is now in the final stage of her rehabilitation and has moved to the large nursery pool with three fellow seals in preparation of her release back into the wild.
“We are really looking forward to releasing Janie into the big blue sea, and feel she will be ready for this big step in the next few weeks,” a spokesperson for the Seal Sanctuary explained, adding “We will miss her greatly!” Janie’s gentle and playful personality has won the hearts of the volunteers at the sanctuary, she explained.
The young seal is learning to shy away from humans, however. “She is gradually becoming more wary of us as she spends more time in the nursery pools with the other pups, but that is definitely a good thing and means she is ready to survive on her own,” the spokesperson said.
Janie has been adopted by both Sheila and Helena, who sponsor her care and are in regular contact with the sanctuary regarding her recovery. The sisters are full of praise for the work the sanctuary does for rescued seals. It is not known how Janie became separated from her mother, but the two sisters later discovered that an adult seal had been found dead in Lecanvey and they are assuming it was her mother.
Where possible, seals are released into the waters where they were rescued. Whether Janie is released in Dingle or ‘at home’ in Murrisk, Sheila and Helena are planning to be present to wave her back into the sea.
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