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Rescuers save the wanderer

PUBLISHED: 16:45 09 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:22 03 July 2010

Rescued: Wanda is now being cared for at Winterton Seal Hospital.

Rescued: Wanda is now being cared for at Winterton Seal Hospital.

WANDA the wandering seal is being cared for at Winterton Seal Hospital after eluding rescuers for two months on over 40 occasions.

The three-to-five year old was finally picked up at Scratby where she was found to have suffered a few dog bites but was generally in good health.

WANDA the wandering seal is being cared for at Winterton Seal Hospital after eluding rescuers for two months on over 40 occasions.

The three-to-five year old was finally picked up at Scratby where she was found to have suffered a few dog bites but was generally in good health.

Barry Williams, chief picture editor with BBC News who photographed the seal soon after she was rescued said the animal was first spotted close to Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach appearing later at Mundesley, Waxham and Lowestoft - her nomadic nature earning her the name Wanda.

Mr Williams who runs websites for seal sanctuaries including the one at Winterton said the seal's orange tag indicated she had been at a rescue centre at some point in her early life, although that probably did not account for the reason she was so tame.

Being so friendly meant she was a danger to herself and possibly a young child if it tried to hug her. Usually seals warn off humans and dogs but Wanda was untroubled by any approach making her vulnerable to dog attack and a threat to youngsters.

He added the rescue was also unusual because she was an older seal.

Mr Williams said it was possible she had outgrown her home and been abandoned by her owners when she got too big. Releasing her back onto Norfolk's sandy beaches where she would again come into contact with humans could prove counterproductive he said, the best release spot probably being off-shore.

But unless she learns to be more guarded the rest of her days could be spent in a large sanctuary.

The harbour seal is also known as the common seal. They co-exist with grey seals but numbers are dwindling for reasons that are not properly understood.

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