VIDEO: Off-course seal pup is rescued from tributary of the River Eden

The Westmorland Gazette: The seal pup is caught. Picture by Paul Calland of Bay Search and Rescue Team The seal pup is caught. Picture by Paul Calland of Bay Search and Rescue Team

A SEAL pup has been re-released back into the wild after ending up more than 20 miles off course down the River Eden.

The lost youngster was spotted in an inland tributary off the 80-mile long river in an area north of Appleby near Milburn Grange.

(VIDEO BY MIKE DAVIS, BAY SEARCH AND RESCUE)

The recent high tides and gale force winds which battered the Cumbrian Coast are believed to have disorientated the youngster from its natural home on the Solway.

Suspected to be less than a year old and measuring just three feet long and weighing 27kg (three and a half stones), the young pup was caught by Bay Search and Rescue Team members.

They released it back into the wild off Walney Island near Barrow yesterday.

Mike Davis, of Bay Search and Rescue team, said members had only recently undergone mammal rescue training using inflatables in Killington Lake, and that it ranked as one of the most unusual jobs they had ever undertaken.

Not shy of showing its teeth and claws towards its saviours, it was transported from its new home in a dog cage.

Mr Davis remarked that it ‘yapped’ on the journey and was ‘trying to bite everything that got near it.”
However, there was a happy ending because despite being slightly underweight, it was declared fit to be reunited with the sea.

Joanne Backshall, for the Eden Rivers Trust, added: “It’s extremely unusual and we’ve never heard of it happening before. It may have been following a salmon up the river because it is way off its normal range.”

The River Eden is regarded as one of the best salmon rivers in the north of England and is also home to wild trout on some of its more remoter parts, and has an abundance of grayling, said the trust.

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