Sunday, October 18, 2015

Freedom Is Complicated For Released Seals

WE WATCHED with wonder for the magic to unfold. Fifteen seals were about to be released back into the wild by an organization working in conjunction with the Vancouver Aquarium.

There was no big announcement. I was one of a few passersby lucky enough to stumble on the event at Crescent Beach during a recent walk.

The curious were drawn to the water's edge, slogging through the squishy beach floor with a sense of anticipation.

As we got nearer we could see the crates that contained the seals.

When volunteers and staff carefully unlatched the gates, the released seals must have wondered at their fate.

Their futures unknown, identification tags will give clues of their travels.

They slowly slithered their sluggish bodies along the sand to the sea a few feet away. Only one or two swam off without a single glance backward.

Most looked back, not ahead, with big puppy-dog stares at their caregivers as if to say, "Do I really have to go?"

Yes, they had to go. Their caregivers held a wall of boards to gently prevent them from coming back to the shore. Like birds in the nest or young adults in the basement, it was time to leave the comforts of what had become a nursery and loving home to the lost, malnourished, injured and abandoned.

Someone came along to record the important "coming of age" ceremony.

"Do I look my best? Is there a little seaweed tangled in my whiskers?"

Freedom is as dangerous as it is delicious. These seals must now catch fish in the wild on their own while trying to avoid being a whale's next meal.

Their lot, however, will likely be far better than what some seals in Canada, in stark contrast, sadly experience HERE.

In a paradoxical world of selective compassions, these rescued seals are fortunate to have been given a second chance at an independent life in the wild. Nonetheless, there was understandably some apprehension.

Mostly, however, there was exhilaration at seeing these endearing creatures continue on their journey in a natural way. People who gained their trust and became their friends seemed to say, "Here is the world ... enjoy it ... see what you can do in it. Try not to do anything foolish and if you are afraid try to be brave because the world, as they say, truly IS your oyster!"

Visit Postcards From Penelope Puddle to view more BC scenes.

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms


  1. OH WOW! You were in the right place at the right time! AND I'm so glad you had your camera!

  2. I do SO agree with EG!!! You were indeed in the right place at the right time!! Thank you so much for sharing your photos!! I just hope the little guys do well!!

  3. What an event to witness ~ Wow! And love the close up shots of those adorable faces!

    Happy Week to you,
    artmusedog and carol

  4. Great to be able to see those seals given their freedom. I hope they make it!

  5. What amazing shots! Seals need to live in freedom - not captivity.

  6. OMG! I just red the link about Canadian seal hunters. What a horror!
    I hope these will not cross the border and will at least not die in such cruel way.
    Nice photo, and what a devoted photographer you are! ;-)

  7. Ohh so cute!!! IT's a very interesting read, too.

  8. This is one of the most touching documentaries, Maria. I’m happy for the released seals no matter how sever their living in the wild open sea. On the contrary, how sad and horrible the slaughtered young seals. I had thought Canada was almost the last country to do such a thing. I really hate my country’s Taiji dolphin drive hunt, killing dolphins with harpoons in a traditional way. Each country has its own share of responsibility for what they are doing. Your writing and photos are marvelous. I smiled to see the seals’ cute faces. I could see the staffs' feeling for the seals to live free and strong from their back.


  9. Thank you for sharing this utterly amazing experience. How lucky and serendipitous to just stumble upon it! Your words are as great as the pictures .... Life is so mysterious and wonderful.

  10. How exciting and what a marvelous thing to witness and beautifully told. Thank you for sharing these very special photos with us. Darling seals!

  11. Back to say thank you for your very thoughtful comment n my 'Imagine ' post recently. Your words helped! And it was good to look at this post again .... A reminder of hope and the goodness of people!

  12. Oh what a wonderful project. The photos of the seals are gorgeous and I love your words, especially the quote that freedom is dangerous and delicious How true

  13. What an exciting experience it must have been to watch this lovely animals being set free again. Where they rescued ? What happens to them in Canada? Are they still being slaughtered ? I thought that has stopped a long time ago.

  14. Wow, what an exciting story and wonderful to see.


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