Thursday 1st November
All Hallow's Day
and the first first day of winter, but the sun is shining on the Bull
Island in Dublin, scene of the only Dublin release this Seal Week. A calm
sea with Howth Head bathed in sunshine and "The Chimneys" standing proud
in front of the Sugarloaf in the distance. A crowd of about 300 people
have gathered at the Interpretive Centre at midday ready to set off along
the beach down to Sutton Point for the release of Bonnie and Grбinne back
to the sea.
Grбinne and Bonnie are two female Common Seals, rescued in Sligo but about
to be released into Dublin Bay in order to increase the population of
Common Seals in the Bay. A mixed colony of Greys and Commons are present,
giving joy to the thousands of Dubliners who walk this stretch of coastline.
Pat Corrigan and Paul from the Interpretive Centre, deserve a special
mention for their efforts in looking after these wonderful animals. It's
time to head off but first a photo of everyone for the Irish Times.
Бine Carroll of the Sanctuary has brought along a busload of YouthReach
children and they have volunteered to carry the seals. It's traditional
here in Dublin for children to take it in turn to carry the seal boxes
to the release site. Half an hour later we arrive at the point of release.
The traditional Freedom Corridor is formed giving everyone an excellent
vantage point and more importantly the seals, a window on the sea. Catherine
from St. Michael's House and Angela from YouthReach have been nominated
to open the boxes. Nobody is under any time pressure today so after after
a short chat with the crowd and some questions it's time for the countdown..........
.....................2................................1. and they're opened.
At first, nothing! Maybe they don't want to go! But sure enough, Bonnie
takes a few tentative steps to be followed by Grбinne. No rush. Slowly,
they make their way past a most appreciative crowd down to the water.
They enter together and once in the water, Bonnie turns back as if to
say "goodbye and thanks".
It's worth noting that the two people who spent most time getting these
animals ready for release, Brendan and Mary, cannot be here today due
to pressure of work in the Sanctuary with sick seals. Their work will
not be forgotten by the crowd or by the seals.
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