Just eight months ago Salsa was an orphaned seal weighing only 12 kilograms when he was rescued on a UK beach, but these days he’s “relaxing” across the English Channel in France.
RSPCA made the happy announcement this month after Salsa was photographed in Boulogne-Sur-Mer on the North coast of France.
“[He] looked very happy as photographer Jean-Luc Bourgain captured him doing a ‘banana pose’ with his flippers in the air,” the RSPCA explained.
As a member of the National Stranding Network, which monitors marine animal sightings, Bourgain knew he had captured something special.
“I could tell from my research into the tag number that Salsa had been in the care of the RSPCA so I got in touch in the hope of finding out a little bit more about the seal,” he said in a statement.
Salsa ended up in the care of the East Winch Wildlife Centre in June, 2021 when he was found on Heacham South beach. His rehabilitation regime went on for four months as the orphan packed on the weight, and by October, he was up to 39.5 kgs and ready to be released into the Wash.
“We were so delighted to hear that Salsa has been spotted looking so well – and that he was all the way over in France enjoying his new found freedom!” Evangelos Achilleous, centre manager at East Winch, said in a statement.
Salsa was spotted hanging out with 12 mates. He does have a small injury to a flipper, which the RSPCA says is being monitored.
Achilleous said seal pups regularly end up in care after being orphaned, malnourished and injured due to dogs attacking them.
It’s not exactly clear why Salsa found himself alone, but the seal pup was definitely memorable.
“We remember Salsa in particular as he was very cheeky, he would always remove the plug in his pool and drain the water out several times a day so we would have to be very innovative in making sure the water stayed in,” Achilleous said. “We even tried putting weights on the plug but Salsa would usually outsmart us, until he was moved into the outdoor pools – which fortunately don’t have plugs!”
For his part, Bourgain is thrilled to close the loop on what happened to the once-found, then-released seal.
“It’s been great to find out a bit more about his background and to be able to let his previous carers know that he is doing so well,” he said.