We receive a call for a seal,
but it’s a ringed seal, which is native to the Arctic.
Literally thousands of miles away.
- We think that it’s the first ringed seal ever in Ireland.
We don’t know how she got here,
we don’t know why she’s here,
but we know we have to help.
We think that Cloudberry is eight months old,
but she weighs only 19 pounds.
So she’s very underweight.
Seal Rescue Ireland rescues sick, injured, and orphaned seals.
Cloudberry definitely could not have been found by a better group of people.
Ringed seals are meant to be built like basketballs,
because they need all of that blubber for the cold Arctic waters.
- She does have some wounds on her flippers,
and behind her neck, and on the top of her head.
- I’m really worried about her.
But our goal is to get Cloudberry up to 55 pounds,
and healthy enough to return her back to the ocean.
That’s a really good sign that she’s going to put on some weight.
- We’re just taking it one step at a time,
hoping that she’ll be able to recover.
- Cloudberry’s been with us for about a month now.
She’s worked her weight up to 44 pounds.
She’s actually proving to be quite the diva.
- As her waistline grows, so does her personality.
She will intentionally splash us when we enter her kennel.
If you even look at her,
she just kind of snorts at you.
And it’s very clear that she’s saying, “This is my turf.”
She’s been nicknamed Princess Cloudberry
because it’s all about her.
Cloudberry has started to get so round
that she’s having trouble turning around in her bath.
She’s well on her road to recovery.
Today we are going to introduce
Cloudberry to the nursery pool for the first time.
She’ll be able to build muscle mass,
and she’ll learn all of the skills that she needs to survive in the wild.
- She’s hopefully going to take right to the water.
And we’ll see how she interacts with the rest of the seals.
- Now the problem is
all of our pools are full with gray seals and some common seals,
which are much bigger than Cloudberry.
We need to closely observe and see how she does.
Because the last thing we want is to introduce her into a dangerous situation
where the other seals might pick on her.
But she’s just gotten too big for her bath.
So we have to take the chances.
After a little bit of hesitation,
she gets in and she’s like a fish to water.
And the other seals are a little curious.
They are wondering, who is this stranger that is now in our pool?
After a little bit of harassment,
the other seals quickly learned that they want nothing to do with Cloudberry.
That pretty much set the tone for the pool from then on.
- Cloudberry’s had about another six weeks in the pools now,
and she’s up to about 63 pounds.
So it’s time to think about releasing her.
- The goal is to get her as close to her Arctic home as possible.
Maybe Iceland, or the Netherlands.
I’m feeling really confident that Cloudberry is going to succeed in the wild.
- Because of the coronavirus
and basically a lockdown on all transportation in or out of the country,
we have made the decision to release this seal now.
We just can’t keep her here any longer because summer is approaching,
and this is an Arctic seal.
We can’t travel internationally anymore.
So the best thing that we can do
is try to get her to the northern tip of Ireland and release her,
and just hope that she heads north to the Arctic.
- Cloudberry has no idea what’s about to happen.
- Now she’s peaceful.
But she’s about to take a five hour journey north.
So we’re going to do the best we can.
- We’ve got Cloudberry here in the back.
- The sun is shining.
It’s the perfect day for me, but for an Arctic seal
this is extremely hot temperatures.
- We’ve got to keep the windows up and the air conditioning on
to keep her nice and cool.
- How’s she doing?
I got us some coffee.
- Doing good.
Everything with the coronavirus is changing by the day.
So, I don’t know, there could be roadblocks.
Yeah, wish us luck.
The sunniest day in Ireland ever.
So I’ve got some ice to cool off Cloudberry.
Are you hot back here?
- We are one hour away from releasing Cloudberry back into the wild.
Everything is going well.
Mel, got anything to say?
- Yeah, it just fittingly seems
the further north we get, the colder and colder it is,
which is really good for her.
She seems to be doing just fine.
Princess Cloudberry is finally as far north as we can possibly get her.
It seems that she’s very much ready to go.
So we’re going to be opening this cage shortly
and saying goodbye to her.
(Laughing) Oh no!
To be honest, Cloudberry's hesitation to get into the water
doesn’t surprise me at all.
She has been dramatic
about every stage of this journey.
So of course she’s going to be a diva until the end.
It’s just been amazing to watch Cloudberry
to go from this tiny pup in the truck
to this monster of a seal.
It’s such a long journey to the Arctic.
But we know she’s up for a challenge.
I have a feeling that wherever Princess Cloudberry is now,
she is ruling her kingdom.