Rescued seal pups released back into wild

Last updated at 17:19
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Leah has more on this story

A group of grey seal pups that were orphaned when a storm surge hit the Norfolk coast in December, have been released back into the wild.

The RSPCA Wildlife Centre at East Winch, west Norfolk, cared for more than 100 seals after the high tides.

Rescue workers feared the seal pups wouldn't survive and so they were taken to rescue centres to get round-the-clock care.

After months of love and attention eight of the seals have been released on the beach at Winterton-on-Sea.

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Watch Ricky's report from January when the pups were in the rescue centre

Centre manager Alison Charles said: "Within three days of the surge hitting we took in 58 seal pups, all with white coats and needing three hourly feeds.

"In the coming days we took in another 45. This was the worst possible time for them to be washed off the beach."

Seal pup at RSPCA East Winch
The orphaned pups needed around-the-clock attention at the seal centre

Alison said they were so young and that they were very vulnerable: "In the first three weeks of their life they are very vulnerable and there is nothing to stop them being washed away.

"They were spread all over the coast and their mums couldn't find them."

Fish soup

Some of the seals weighed as little as 15kg when they were taken in.

At first they were fed a diet of "fish soup", before they were moved on to solid food.

Now the healthy pups have tripled their body weight.

Seal in sling-stretcher on Winterton beach
The seals were carried to the shoreline in a sling-stretcher ahead of their release

Strong chance of survival

As they were set free, some made a dash for the water while others held back by the shore before disappearing into the waves.

The RSPCA is hopeful they now stand a strong chance of survival.

Mrs Charles said: "This has been an extremely hard time for all the staff and volunteers."

"But when you watch them go back to the wild where they belong, you know it is worth the effort."

There are still thirty seals being kept in special units, while the rest are in pools preparing them to be released over the coming weeks.