Baby seal released at St Mary's Lighthouse after RSPCA rescue and recovery at Tynemouth Aquarium
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The pup was transported from the beach in a special bag by one of the animal welfare charity’s inspectors to a vet in Darlington, where he weighed in at just 11kg.
Cranberry was treated for seal mouth rot, an infection that causes severe abscesses and ulcers around the mouth, and was then transferred to Tynemouth Aquarium’s volunteer-run seal hospital.
Now weighing 36kg after months of recovery, Cranberry was released at St Mary’s Lighthouse on Sunday alongside another rehabilitated seal called Raspberry.
RSPCA inspector Clare Wilson, who rescued Cranberry in Redcar, was “over the moon” to see his release back into the wild.
She said: “It was a wonderful feeling finally seeing Cranberry return to the water.
“When I first collected him from the beach he was in a very poor state, with lots of abscesses on his mouth which were very sore and swollen.
“It has been a long road to recovery for him but lots of people have pulled together to make it happen, from the member of the public who first reported him to us, to the fantastic care he has received for many weeks at Tynemouth Aquarium, as well as several vets practices along the way.
“Seal rescue is labour intensive, but being able to successfully rehabilitate these beautiful creatures and return them back into the wild where they belong is so rewarding.”
Cranberry has been released with a flipper tag, allowing him to be identified if he is spotted in future.
RSPCA advice states that members of the public should not approach seals and keep dogs away from them.
The charity says it is normal for them to rest on beaches and return to the sea when ready so people should not attempt to return them to the sea themselves, but should report them to the RSPCA if they look unwell or thin with a visible neck.