Lost seal not allowed to return to Iceland

A lost Icelandic seal that showed up in Lincolnshire, UK, will not be allowed to return to Iceland.

Eve, the hooded seal, which was rescued by Skegness Natureland after turning up at Chapel St Leonards, has been barred from returning to Icelandic waters because conservationists fear she may carry unwanted diseases back to the local seal population. Skegness Natureland was planning to ship the animal back to Iceland after she was rescued in December.

Eve’s arrival in the UK came after she had been already been rescued in Germany, where a seal sanctuary nourished her, fitted her with a tracking device and set her back adrift in the hope that she would be able to find her way back to her native region in the North Atlantic. She made her way to Scotland, however, before turning around and ending up on English shores.

Duncan Yeadon said on behalf of Natureland, “We’ve been in contact with the Icelandic embassy who put us onto their version of Defra. We eventually heard back that they won’t allow us to take her up there, unfortunately.” He added, “It’s understandable in a way because they’re afraid of her transferring or carrying disease from our waters and infecting the seal population there,” the BBC reported.

Yeadon told reporters that marine officials are now deciding what to do with the animal.

He said, “It’s a bit of a dilemma really. We could release her from the British coastline – either Skegness or further north – and hope she finds her way home, or give her a home here. She’s spent the majority of her life in seal sanctuaries and we’re concerned she might be a bit too humanised to be released. Ideally we would like to release her in the hope she will go back to where she belongs, but we wouldn’t want to release her and find she is not able to fend for herself.”