Submitted by GSPCA on 10:15, 18th Apr, 2013 | 0

Yesterday GSPCA Shelter staff and a volunteer boat crew had a wonderful site.

After months of care and rehabilitation Jethou Bumblebee and Hanois the two grey seal pups that were rescued during the winter around Guernsey were released back into the wild.

Jethou Bumblebee was rescued from Jethou at the end of last year, sick, injured and less than half her ideal body weight.  She was reported by those living there and Animal Collection Officer Geoff George and GSPCA Manager Steve Byrne responded quickly thanks to the Bumblebee Cruise crew and in less than 2 hours, Jethou Bumblebee was rescued and in the care of the GSPCA fed, warm back in our seal unit.

Hanois was reported sick and injured at the start of the year on a weekend and again Shelter staff responded quickly, this time Senior Animal Care Assistant Yvonne Chauvel and Animal Care Assistant Annie Janes attended and carried out the rescue.  Hanois was found out at Pleinmont and this time the staff had to carry the 21kg thin seal over hundreds of yards of rock before the tide came in.

After months of intensive care, hard work and nearly 2000kgs of fish both seals yesterday were healthy enough to be released.

Both seals on entry had chest infections, were less than half their ideal body weight, only around a month old, had cuts and injuries and required 2 to 3 hourly tube feeding day and night.  After weeks of getting fluids directly into their stomachs, then a fish soup as well as a series of veterinary treatments they were moved on to fish diet and eventually were able to go out into the rehabilitation pools at the Shelter.

After a few short introductions Jethou Bumblebee and Hanois fell in love and grew a fantastic bond which couldn't be better for a release.

Shelter staff had to wait for the seals to be healthy enough, at a good weight, a good period of weather, for them to be desensitised to their handlers and a boat to help before the release could take place.

After a few awful weeks of weather, a lot of donated fish and much hard work the right time came upon us yesterday.

Staff started preparations in the morning by putting together the transport modules and getting the equipment in order, whilst liaising with the volunteer boat crew and the wonderful residents of Jethou.

At 1.30pm the operation to release the seals began by entering the pool area to get Jethou Bumblebee and Hanois into the transport modules which went extremely well.

The seal pups were then weighed and all staff were overjoyed at how much they had put on to make a fantastic release weight.

The seals were then loaded on board a vehicle and taken to the harbour.

Shelter staff Geoff George, Steve Byrne, Yvonne Chauvel and Lorna Prince the Welfare Manager were to be the release team with the help of Ian Power who transported the seals to the harbour.

Although very heavy both pups were loaded quickly and safely and got aboard the boat where the short journey to Jethou took place.

The residents of Jethou were at hand to help and to reduce stress the pups were quickly taken to the pebble bay next to the jetty where Jethou Bumblebee had been rescued many months before.

After a final farewell and a few tears the doors were opened at 3pm and without much encouragement Jethou Bumblebee led the way with Hanois close behind to enter the local waters where they had been rescued from.

Steve Byrne GSPCA Manager said 'What an amazing day yesterday was.'

'To see local animals going back into the wild with such stunning scenery, ideal habitat, fantastic weather and ideal conditions we really couldn’t have asked for better.'

'Although a little unsure at first they were soon playing and enjoying being back in the wild.'

'I have seen seal releases before but this was definitely a once in a life time occasion having been involved with the rescue of one and to ensure they had the care locally and released then on Jethou words cannot truly explain the feelings.'

'We are now looking for funding to help improve the seal facilities for next year and appealing for any donations towards this.'

'We have a limited amount of small toy seal pups on sale at the Shelter and also I would love to find a local children’s author to write a book on their adventure and tale.'

‘A real heart felt thank you must go to all involved.’

Geoff George Animal Collection Officer said 'As the head carer for the seals I didn't get a lot of sleep when they first came in to ensure they survived.'

'The whole event from the rescue to the release has been a real highlight of my career and makes the job so worth while.'

'It's not been easy but to see them back in the wild was a true privilege and to actually see them jumping out of the water and Hanois even catch his first fish helps place my mind at rest that they will do well.'

'They have built such a close bond we are hopeful that they will stay together and join some of the other seals around our wonderful coast.

Yvonne Chauvel Senior Animal Care Assistant said 'It won't be the same in the wildlife unit without them but we are here to help animals in need and to get them back where they belong.'

'It was so wonderful to see them being released.'

'Once we had released them the island residents provided us with hot tea and biscuits and it was so nice to watch them settle back into the wild.'

Lorna Prince Welfare Manager said 'It was a great afternoon and to see wild animals enjoying where they belong.'

'To release the two together certainly helped as they took confidence from one another and it didn't take them long at all to get into the water.'

The GSPCA would like to thank everyone from their initial rescue, all that donated fish and money towards their care, those that looked after them and all that helped with their release.

The seal pup season doesn't start until the Autumn so the Shelter can now look to improve the seal facilities and we are appealing for donations to tile the seal unit, enlarge the pool and fit a pump system to help with the care for when we have to next rescue seal pups.

If you find a sick or injured animal please call 01481 257261 24 hours 7 days a week.

To see many pictures of the release please

 Seal pup release


If you would like to donate towards the seal appeal you can do so by calling into the Shelter, over the phone on 01481 257261 or by clicking the Paypal button below.

To see the story of Jethou Bumblebee the grey seal pup please check out this short video from start to finish on how staff rescued him with a lot of help.

To see the story of Hanois and his rescue please go to

To nominate an amazing animal, a special person (in secret!) who has dedicated time to them or any inspirational animal story for the The British Animal Honours 2013, then please go to

There are many items on the GSPCA's Wish List and you can see many of them by clicking here including a list of Amazon items which would make a difference to animals in Guernsey.

To download our latest newsletter or become a member of the GSPCA please

To become a GSPCA member

The following are events planned for 2013

Every Tuesday during term time between 10.30am and 12pm at the GSPCA we have a coffee morning with bric-a-brac and pet supplies on sale.  Please click here for more details

Clinton's Kilimanjaro Climb in March - One man VS 5,895 m - to find out more please click here for more details

GSPCA Easter & Cupcake Week Pop Up Shop thanks to OSA Recruitment - 23rd - 31st March 2013 -

Sunday 2nd June 2013 - Summer Fayre and Dog Show - please click here for more details

Saturday 8th June 2013 Itex Walk Guernsey - We are pleased that for 2013 we are one of the nominated charities benefiting from this years walk. To register and find out more click here for more details and sponsor those taking part.

Sunday 15th September 2013 - Animal Welfare Seafront Sunday - click here for more details.

4th October - World Animal Day - more details to follow


Fancy doing a sponsored event for the GSPCA?  To download a GSPCA Sponsor form please

Download a GSPCA Sponsorship Form

If you would like to donate to the GSPCA and help us care for animals in Guernsey, you can do so by calling into the Shelter, over the phone on 01481 257261 or by clicking the Paypal button below.


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