The Release Of Zorro
For the last 12 months, the Irish Seal Sanctuary has been following an adult bull seal all along the east coast of the country from Co. Louth to Co. Wexford. This is a relatively tame seal that has come up on public beaches without fear of humans. About 4 months ago, Kevin McCormack of the Sanctuary managed to mark the seal with pink marker along its flank in a "Z" design. Hence, the locals along the east coast who have spotted him have christened him, "The Pink Zorro".
During the month of March, it was noted that Zorro was in poor condition and underweight. He was taken in to the Sanctuary from Wicklow harbour, where he was coralled by Mario and Lisa Melissa, suffering from very bad diarrohea and very underweight. He weighed 148Kgs. at the time. To transfer him to the Sanctuary a special box had to be built (courtesy of Iarnrod Eireann). This was the first time that an adult seal had to be taken into the Sanctuary.
After a course of antibiotics and plenty of feeding up. it was decided to release Zorro. However, there was a dilemma. Where should he be released? As he was so tame, it was decided that a public release on a public beach was not an option as there was the worry of him biting a child or adult who might try to pet or feed him. A release on the west coast of the country was also ruled out due to the fact that he might quickly be shot by an irate fisherman.
It was decided to release Zorro from a quiet North Dublin beach early on the morning of the 31st March. Only Seal Sanctuary members were present along with a local fisherman, who has a pet seal in the Irish Sea and who has agreed to keep an eye on Zorro. He weighed 240 Kgs. on release.
After a slow start, Zorro made his way out to sea. A job well done! So we thought. Five hours later we received a call at the Sanctuary to say that Zorro was back on land, this time on Skerries strand. On arrival at Skerries, it was noted that all was not well with Zorro. He started convulsing, not a pretty sight for the public and especially the children. It was decided that he had to be brought back to the Sanctuary. Less than 12 hours from release, Zorro was back at the Sanctuary. Seal Sanctuary members stayed up all night monitoring his progress and the next day, local vet John Twoomey did trojan work in sedating and administering medication to Zorro.
What was wrong with Zorro? It's hard to know. It was probably a case of food poisoning as he reguritated a scallop on Skerries strand soon after he beached.
Zorro made a great recovery and soon it was decided to release him again. Thankfully his second release proved a lot less eventual and Zorro is now back in the Irish Sea.
Before he was released, "Zorro" was also marked on the head with pink dye. This will enable easy identification at sea. We hope that members of the public can watch and appreciate this animal in the wild. However, don't forget that this is a wild animal and should not be approached if he comes up on a public beach. Do not try to feed or pet this animal. His future depends very much on public co-operation and in return he will continue to delight by sightings and act as a monitor of conditions in the Irish Sea.
If he is in trouble or you wish to report a sighting of the "Pink Zorro" you can get in touch with the Irish Seal Sanctuary at 01-8354370 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Return of Release Of Zorro !
Zorro was released for a second time from Lough Shinney strand, this time at dusk on Tuesday, April 10th. It was decided to let him off close to dark so as to draw little attention to him. His release was watched by a handful of Sanctuary members.
He was in fine form as he headed off taking his last few fish from Pat Murray of the Sanctuary. After leaving the beach, his first encounter was with a number of divers from the Aer Lingus Dive Club, who were diving in the area. I don't know who got the greatest shock, the divers or Zorro.
The next morning, the phone calls came in thick and fast. Zorro had come up on Portmarnock beach. Brendan Price and Terry Flanagan headed off to Portmarnock to find Zorro fast asleep on a sandbar 30 metres off shore. Both sat on the dunes in the sun keeping an eye till he decided to move off towards Ireland's Eye at about 3.00pm.
Later on in the evening more calls. This time from the lighthouse keeper in Howth. Бine Carroll headed over to find him on a rocky shore again asleep. Again, nothing appeared wrong with him as he slept. On the high tide of the following day he was spotted by Yvonne Martin heading off. To where? Who knows. Watch this space.
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