‘Zebo’, the grey seal pup with the beautiful pelage (coat), returned to his native Wexford yesterday witnessed by a large crowd of well wishers.
This amazing creature who cheated death and showed remarkable resilience, braved the chilly waters of approximately 4 degrees close to the oldest working lighthouse in the world, Hook Head.
‘Zebo’ was rescued on Feb.2nd in Kilmore Quay after the release of another grey seal pup called ‘Harvey’ when some local youths spotted ‘Zebo’ amongst the rocks (they christened him ‘Zebo’ as they were listening to the Ireland v Wales match on their phones).
He was very malnourished, dehydrated and had seal pox lesions and the Irish Seal Sanctuary (ISS) volunteers feared that he would not make it through the night. A mercy dash up to Tayto Park and with the expertise of the resident vet, Paul Kelly and Lee Donohoe, ‘Zebo’ was eventually stabilised and began to eat on his own.
After 5 weeks and piling on the pounds, ‘Zebo’ was returned to Wexford via Secret Valley where he remained for 16 days and was fattened up to his release weight of 42 kilos.
‘Zebo’ showed no hesitation when his release box was opened and slid warily down the carpet of kelp and when his sensitive vibrissae touched the frigid water, he reacted alarmingly and turned around and decided it was not quite what he remembered!
The crowd waited tentatively for the next move and after several minutes, with some nervous undulations, ‘Zebo’ turned to port and headed into the lapping waves of the estuary and with several flicks of his powerful rear flipper thruster, he was free of the marauding waves and had cleared the red zone. Free again and back where he belongs, viva Zebo!
The Irish Seal Sanctuary acknowledge and thank it’s outreach partners-Tayto Park, Ashbourne and Secret Valley, Clonroche for their generosity and compassion in our efforts to rehabilitate our indigenous marine mammal species and we also owe a debt of gratitude to all our wonderful volunteers without whom we could not continue. We extend our gratitude to the local coastguard units who assisted us with crowd control and thanks also to the management and staff of Hook Lighthouse and Heritage Centre for their support and generous contribution and also for their policy in promoting the variety of Natural wonders that are so bountiful on our Wexford coastline.