Rescue centre release adorable one-eyed seal back into the sea

A one-eyed seal who won the hearts of thousands on social media has been released back into the sea after months of care at a specialist centre.

Eight-month-old Scribbly Gum, a grey seal, was released on a beach in County Wexford, Ireland, on Friday afternoon by staff at Seal Rescue Ireland, along with another rescue seal named Echinacea.

Scribbly Gum was rescued in January with an eye infection which required surgery to remove the eye as part of his rehabilitation before release.

Now fully recovered, both marine animals made their way back to the open water while the momentous occasion was live-streamed to fans on Facebook.

Over the lockdown period, Scribbly Gum, Echinacea and their former neighbours became stars of the internet, as the staff at the rescue centre featured them in several TikTok videos and picture posts.

One in particular, titled ‘If SRI had their own 90s sitcom’, saw the seals rack up over 27,000 views as they nuzzled the camera and flopped across the floor excitedly. (It’s very, very cute.)

Since Scribbly’s admission to the rescue centre, he’s become a fan favourite as people have tracked his recovery week by week.

Echinacea, who is seven-months-old, had been at the centre since April after being rescued in Donegal with a parasitic infection. Now fully treated, he and Scribbly have returned to the sea.

Crowds of children and adults alike gathered to wish the pair well on their way. After being let out of their transport boxes on the shore, the seals shuffled their way down the sandy bank and reached the water, paddling around before swimming towards their new lives, out in the open.

In the video, an employee of Seal Rescue Ireland added that the centre was open again for visits and care taking experiences after being closed for lockdown.

With the site being the Republic of Ireland’s only seal rescue centre, it is committed to the ‘rescue, rehabilitation and release of sick, injured and orphaned seals from across the coast of Ireland’, according to their website.

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