It’s a beautiful afternoon and I put my bike away at the seaside near the Zandmotor. From far I could see a seal trying to reach open sea through the very undeep waterway. It was ebb, but still half an hour before it’s all tide out. A man had already called for Animal Rescue. “She is exhausted,” he said, “probably ill.” His old little dog was quietly sitting at his feet and nodded slightly, underlining his Boss’s indisputable judgement. So I took some pictures from nearby: and indeed, the seal didn’t look happy. “It took already such a long way, you know and now I don’t feel what the good direction to my seafriends would be”, she complained sniffing.
The sun was shining, but the wind was chilly. It could take a while before the team would arrive, so in the meantime I looked around near the surf and ran back when the fire brigade and Animal Rescue arrived. In the beginning, all seemed rather easy. One of the firemen in his protective swimsuit kneeled down and spoke gently to the seal as if she was a real dog (in Dutch a seal is called “zeehond” or “seadog”, because of their barking voice). Instead of listening like an obedient dog, the seal tried to escape.
There seems to be only one real way to catch a seal, and that is gripping them firmly by their backflippers and pulling them backward ashore. But firm gripping power is needed, as seals do not feel that as their natural direction… So, in this case it took five people a quarter of an hour to move and lift the reluctant animal into a large basket and finally into the Animal Rescue van. We felt all relieved about the succesful ending of this difficult operation. Now the seal will be examined and have the opportunity to recover from her exhausting Zandmotor-adventure.