Port Talbot seal trapped by boulders is rescued


Miracle the seal after being rescuedImage copyright
RSPCA Cymru

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‘Miracle’ the seal was taken to a seal sanctuary after being freed

A seal that had been trapped by boulders on a south Wales beach for at least two days has been freed following a rescue operation.

The pup – nicknamed Miracle by volunteers – was first spotted stuck on Aberavon Beach in Port Talbot on Sunday.

It had wriggled into a gap between rocks and had been unable to get out.

The RSPCA said a one-tonne boulder was moved by a lifting gantry operated by an engineer to free the pup.

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RNLI Port Talbot

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The seal became stuck over the weekend

Nic de Celis, from the charity, said it appeared to be unharmed and was taken to a seal sanctuary in Taunton, Somerset.

“Without doubt, this was the most technical and complex rescue I have dealt with as an RSPCA inspector,” he said.

“This poor seal pup was trapped amid rocks and boulders, and access to the animal was exceptionally difficult.

“A one-tonne boulder literally had to be moved out of the way, before we safely got hold of the seal and did a thorough welfare assessment.”

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RSPCA Cymru

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A lifting gantry was used to lift the rocks at Aberavon Beach

Clive Morris, the RNLI’s lifeboat operations manager at Port Talbot, said the pup was trapped in a crevice in the boulders about 3m (10ft) down.

“It’s a miracle we got to it and a happy, safe conclusion,” he added.

“They placed a lifting rig over the location and then drilled the rocks to stabilise the area. Then they used old fashioned pulleys to lift the rocks and free the seal.”

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RSPCA Cymru

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A one-tonne boulder had to be removed

Mr Morris said the RSPCA led the operation which also involved Sea-Lift Diving and British Divers’ Marine Life Rescue.

The seal will spend at least a month at the seal sanctuary before it can be released.

Nicki Llewellyn, who lives near the beach, said a friend had told him about the stuck seal.

“One of the guys I surf with said he thought he heard a baby crying, he looked round and spotted it,” he added.

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RNLI Port Talbot

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Miracle was stuck in a crevice

One theory is that the seal was startled by fireworks over the weekend and sheltered in the rocks.

An area of the beach was sealed-off on Tuesday while equipment was brought in to lift the boulders and the public was asked to stay away.



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