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Rescued seal pup makes remarkable recovery

Janie the common seal, who was rescued as a seven-day-old pup in Murrisk in July, recovering in her sanctuary in Dingle. She is expected to be released back into the wild in a month’s time.
Janie the common seal, who was rescued as a seven-day-old pup in Murrisk in July, recovering in her sanctuary in Dingle. She is expected to be released back into the wild in a month’s time.

Rescued Murrisk seal pup soon to return to sea

Feisty Janie survived three days alone on Murrisk coast

Anton McNulty


A BABY seal rescued by two sisters in Murrisk in July is expected to be released back into the wild at the end of the month after making a remarkable recovery from horrific injuries.
The week-old baby seal was left stranded on the shore below Murrisk Abbey for three days before sisters Sheila Hulme and Helena Hoban from Carrowkeel, Murrisk decided to take matters into their own hands and rescue the pup.


“We were ignorant of what to do and we did not realise at the time that the pup was incapable of looking after itself and would still be feeding on milk at that stage,” Sheila explained to The Mayo News. “The pup was screeching and crying for its mother, and we decided to do something about it.”
With the advice of the Seal Sanctuary in Dingle, the two sisters went down to the shore and after gaining its confidence, they wrapped the ‘feisty’ pup in towels and placed it into a crate. Despite being in a weak state, the female pup – which had bite marks on its neck and a damaged eye, presumed to have been inflicted by a dog – put up a struggle. Sheila described the ordeal of placing her in the car as ‘an experience’. With the help of Helena’s husband, Denis, who had just arrived back from England, they brought the little pup to a vet in Loughrea. She was treated for her injuries and dehydration before being transferred to the Seal Sanctuary in Dingle. It is not known how the pup became separated from its mother, but the sisters later discovered that an adult seal was found dead in Lecanvey, and they are assuming it was her mother.

Sweet personality
The little pup, which weighed just 9.5kg, has been named Janie. She was adopted by Sheila and Helena, who sponsor her care and are in regular contact with the sanctuary regarding her recovery. She has settled well into her new surroundings and has been described by her handlers as a ‘drama queen’ with ‘the sweetest personality’.
Janie received treatment for lungworm when she arrived and is still getting treatment for her eye, but she has been making remarkable progress.
“They were amazed she was in such good condition considering she was alone for three days. She is still being hand fed at the moment, but it is going well. She will be moved into the nursery pool, where she will have to learn to catch her own food, before she gets released.” Janie will also have to reach a weight of 25kg.
“It is hoped she will be released by the end of September or early October. They normally bring them back to where they were found … Otherwise it will be in Dingle – if it is we will be going down to see her off,” Sheila explained.

Sanctuary praised

Sheila was full of praise for the work of the Seal Sanctuary in Dingle, which brings in rescued seals from all over Ireland. On the weekend Janie was rescued, the sanctuary took in four other seals that had been rescued from different parts of Ireland. Sheila and Helena plan to continue to support the sanctuary’s work long after their seal is released.
“They do wonderful work and they have an amazing network of drivers from all over the county, who take the seals to the sanctuary. They have so many volunteers, and when you think what they do to look after the seals, it must cost them a fortune. Some fishermen might not be happy about seals, but you have to imagine there is room in this world for both.”

HAVE YOUR SAY email antonmcnulty@mayonews.ie with your comments