Dolly the seal: From rescue in Margate to rehab and release back in the water

Back to the wild Photo Emma Jacobs/RSPCA Mallydams

On October 2 a young Common seal was found stranded on a Margate beach weighing less than 12kgs.

Luckily for the pup the British Divers Marine Life Rescue team were alerted.

BDMLR medics Felicity Lerouge, Mark Noone, Greg Bessant and Sheila Stone attended and found that although the seal was underweight, she did not have any physical signs of injury or illness.

She was named Dolly and taken for rehabilitation at RSPCA Mallydams, near Hastings. After medication to treat an eye infection and other care, she reached the grand weight of 38.6 kilograms.

Dolly’s big day came yesterday (Wednesday, January 13) when she was released back into the wild on Fairlight beach,near Hastings, having successfully completed her rehab.

A spokesperson for the RSPCA Mallydams Wood Wildlife Centre said: “Dolly has been in our care since October after she was brought in to us by the BDMLR, she was underweight and very young.

Photo Emma Jacobs/RSPCA Mallydams

“We are delighted after months of care at our centre, we were able to release her back to the wild on January 12. No matter how many times we release a seal we never get tired of watching them make their break for freedom back to the wild, it’s always so lovely to see.”

Photo Emma Jacobs/RSPCA Mallydams

If you come across a stranded seal, please keep away, keep all dogs away and on leads, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RETURN IT TO THE WATER.  Call British Divers Marine Life Rescue on 01825 765546 and they will send a medic out to assess and monitor.

The RSPCA says if you are concerned about a seal, observe from a distance. Please keep other animals, such as dogs, away from the animal, and never return the seal to the water yourself.

If you have observed the seal for at least 24 hours and are concerned about it please contact the RSPCA for advice on 0300 1234 999. If you are concerned about a seal or if the seal looks sick or injured, or is on a busy public beach, stay at a safe distance and also contact the RSPCA’s emergency line.

You can find more advice about what to do if you see a seal pup on its own on the RSPCA’s website:


  1. Anyone know why she was released in Hastings and not Margate? Surprised to see that. I once worked on a turtle conservation project in Greece where injured turtles would be taken to a centre in Athens for treatment and rehab. When ready to go back into the wild great care was taken to release them at the beach where they were found, sometimes a day’s travel from the clinic and at great expense to the charity. Turtles are thought to swim thousands of miles each year so although they can cover massive distances it was thought important to release them close to home to orientate themselves. I would’ve thought it would be a similar situation for a young seal so would be interested to know otherwise.

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