South West Wales

Trapped Aberavon seal released back into the wild

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Media captionMarina was released back into the wild after six months of rehabilitation

A seal saved during a sea rescue has been returned to the wild.

The animal was trapped by heavy rocks and three-tonne boulders near Aberavon, Port Talbot, last November.

The RSPCA managed to get the seal to safety - in what was described as "the most dramatic circumstances".

The seal, later named Marina by inspectors, has now been returned to the sea near the North Devon coast - something which delighted animal inspectors.

Image copyright RNLI Port Talbot
Image caption The seal became trapped amid rocks and boulders, and access to the animal was exceptionally difficult, the RSPCA said

RSPCA animal collection officer Ellie West said: "It was absolutely fantastic to be at Combe Martin and watch Marina be returned to where she belongs.

"Her rescue was truly one of the most remarkable the RSPCA was involved with in 2017, amid some of the most dramatic circumstances imaginable.

"Boulders weighing approximately three tonnes had to be moved out of the way to free her.

"It was one of the most complex and technical of rescues."

Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption Marina needed six months of rehabilitation at a special centre for seals before she was well enough to be sent back to the wild

After the animal became trapped near a sea wall close to Port Talbot's steelworks, a "multi-agency" rescue operation was mounted.

As well as the RSPCA, Associated British Ports, Sea-Lift Diving, British Divers' Marine Life Rescue, the RNLI and Neath Port Talbot Council were also called on.

Miss West added: "Six months on, and this release proves how worthwhile it all was."

Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption Marina the seal - who was nicknamed 'Miracle' - was trapped by a sea wall near Port Talbot steelworks last November

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