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Globally, the grey seal is one of the rarest seal species, with almost 50% of the world population living in British & Irish waters.

Each year, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, a voluntary organisation based in Cornwall, England, fields hundreds of reports of seal pups in distress. With the help of the Cornish Seal Sanctuary and the Cornish Seal Group, many of these pups are rescued and nursed back to health. On a few red letter days each year, those pups that have fully recovered are released back into the wild, shuffling down the beach to re-enter the waves once more.

Photographer Nick Upton has documented this heart-warming tale from rescue to release, as well as efforts to monitor wild seals on the rugged Cornish coastline.

Download our full story PDF, including text, here.

Blind adult male Grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) 'Marlin' waving a flipper at the edge of a convalescence pool where he is a long-term resident, Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, January. Mo...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Blind adult male Grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) 'Marlin' waving a flipper at the edge of a convalescence pool where he is a long-term resident, Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, January. Mo...
Sick, injured Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Jenga', with bite marks on its flippers and body and a runny nose, washed up on the tide line, Black Rock beach, Widemouth Bay, North Cornwall, UK, Oc...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Sick, injured Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Jenga', with bite marks on its flippers and body and a runny nose, washed up on the tide line, Black Rock beach, Widemouth Bay, North Cornwall, UK, Oc...
Donna La Broy looking at a sick, injured Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Jenga', with bite marks on its flippers and body and a runny nose, which she found washed up on the tide line, Widemouth Ba...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Donna La Broy looking at a sick, injured Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Jenga', with bite marks on its flippers and body and a runny nose, which she found washed up on the tide line, Widemouth Ba...
Michelle Clement, a British Divers Marine Life Rescue animal medic preparing to wrap a towel around a sick, injured Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Jenga', with bite marks on its flippers and body...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Michelle Clement, a British Divers Marine Life Rescue animal medic preparing to wrap a towel around a sick, injured Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Jenga', with bite marks on its flippers and body...
Sick, injured Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Jenga', with bite marks on its flippers and body, washed up on the tide line, Widemouth Bay, North Cornwall, UK, October.  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Sick, injured Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Jenga', with bite marks on its flippers and body, washed up on the tide line, Widemouth Bay, North Cornwall, UK, October.
British Divers Marine Life Rescue regional co-ordinator Dave Jarvis reading report of an injured grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) on a Cornish beach from his home, Cornwall, UK, October.  Model rele...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / British Divers Marine Life Rescue regional co-ordinator Dave Jarvis reading report of an injured grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) on a Cornish beach from his home, Cornwall, UK, October. Model rele...
Rachel Shorland and Michelle Clement, British Divers Marine Life Rescue animal medics, giving rehydration fluids to a very weak, injured, Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Jenga', washed up on a bea...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Rachel Shorland and Michelle Clement, British Divers Marine Life Rescue animal medics, giving rehydration fluids to a very weak, injured, Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Jenga', washed up on a bea...
British Divers Marine Life Rescue animal medics Michelle Clement and  Rachel Shorland weighing a sick, injured Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Jenga', found washed up on the tide line, in a ventia...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / British Divers Marine Life Rescue animal medics Michelle Clement and Rachel Shorland weighing a sick, injured Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Jenga', found washed up on the tide line, in a ventia...
British Divers Marine Life Rescue animal medics Michelle Clement and Rachel Shorland carry a very weak, injured, grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Jenga', in a bag after rescuing it from Black Rock...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / British Divers Marine Life Rescue animal medics Michelle Clement and Rachel Shorland carry a very weak, injured, grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Jenga', in a bag after rescuing it from Black Rock...
Rescued Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) feeding on  Mackerel in an isolated nursery pool where it will be kept until strong enough to join other pups and then be released back to the sea, Cornish S...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Rescued Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) feeding on Mackerel in an isolated nursery pool where it will be kept until strong enough to join other pups and then be released back to the sea, Cornish S...
Colony of Grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) resting on a sandy beach below high clifffs, near St.Ives, Cornwall, UK, February.  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Colony of Grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) resting on a sandy beach below high clifffs, near St.Ives, Cornwall, UK, February.
British Divers Marine Life Rescue animal medics Simon Dolphin and Michelle Clement accompanying people carrying an injured Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Boggle' in a ventilated rescue bag, Crack...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / British Divers Marine Life Rescue animal medics Simon Dolphin and Michelle Clement accompanying people carrying an injured Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Boggle' in a ventilated rescue bag, Crack...
British Divers Marine Life Rescue animal medic Simon Dolphin holding down a sick, injured Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Boggle' rescued on a Cornish beach, Crackington Haven, North Cornwall, UK,...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / British Divers Marine Life Rescue animal medic Simon Dolphin holding down a sick, injured Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Boggle' rescued on a Cornish beach, Crackington Haven, North Cornwall, UK,...
Sick Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Boggle' wrapped in a towel by a British Divers Marine Life Rescue medic while being inspected for for injuries, after being found on a Cornish beach, Crackingt...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Sick Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Boggle' wrapped in a towel by a British Divers Marine Life Rescue medic while being inspected for for injuries, after being found on a Cornish beach, Crackingt...
British Divers Marine Life Rescue animal medic Simon Dolphin using a rectal thermometer to record the temperature of an injured Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Boggle' which was found on a Cornish...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / British Divers Marine Life Rescue animal medic Simon Dolphin using a rectal thermometer to record the temperature of an injured Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Boggle' which was found on a Cornish...
Healthy grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) that was being harassed by dogs,  being released from a crate on a quieter beach by a British Divers Marine Life Rescue team, marked with blue spray to show...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Healthy grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) that was being harassed by dogs, being released from a crate on a quieter beach by a British Divers Marine Life Rescue team, marked with blue spray to show...
Seal hospital where injured Grey seal pups (Halichoerus grypus) are treated for injuries and illness after being rescued, Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, January.  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Seal hospital where injured Grey seal pups (Halichoerus grypus) are treated for injuries and illness after being rescued, Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, January.
British Divers Marine Life Rescue vet Darryl Thorpe and animal medic Michelle Clement releasing an injured Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Jenga' into a cubicle at a BDMLR seal pup treatment facil...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / British Divers Marine Life Rescue vet Darryl Thorpe and animal medic Michelle Clement releasing an injured Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Jenga' into a cubicle at a BDMLR seal pup treatment facil...
British Divers Marine Life Rescue vet Darryl Thorpe taking a blood sample from an injured grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Jenga' in a cubicle at a BDMLR seal pup treatment facility before its tran...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / British Divers Marine Life Rescue vet Darryl Thorpe taking a blood sample from an injured grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Jenga' in a cubicle at a BDMLR seal pup treatment facility before its tran...
Sick, injured Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Boggle' still in his white baby coat, recovering after initial treatment at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, October. Model r...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Sick, injured Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Boggle' still in his white baby coat, recovering after initial treatment at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, October. Model r...
Injured grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Jenga' after initial veterinary treatment at a British Divers Marine Life Rescue seal pup treatment facility before going on to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary,...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Injured grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Jenga' after initial veterinary treatment at a British Divers Marine Life Rescue seal pup treatment facility before going on to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary,...
Sick, injured Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Boggle',  released into a cubicle in the Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital by Reychell Harris, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, October. Model released.  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Sick, injured Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Boggle', released into a cubicle in the Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital by Reychell Harris, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, October. Model released.
Dan Jarvis wrapping a recovering Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Boggle', now with its white baby coat shed, in a towel before feeding it in a cubicle at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital, Gweek...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Dan Jarvis wrapping a recovering Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Boggle', now with its white baby coat shed, in a towel before feeding it in a cubicle at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital, Gweek...
Dan Jarvis feeds a recovering Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Boggle', now with its white baby coat shed, in a cubicle at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, October. Model r...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Dan Jarvis feeds a recovering Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Boggle', now with its white baby coat shed, in a cubicle at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, October. Model r...
Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Kerplunk' recovering from an operation to remove a damaged, rotting rear flipper at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, October.  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Kerplunk' recovering from an operation to remove a damaged, rotting rear flipper at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, October.
Dan Jarvis offering a Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Kerplunk' a fish as it recovers from an operation to remove a damaged, rotting rear flipper, Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital, Gweek, Cornwall,...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Dan Jarvis offering a Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Kerplunk' a fish as it recovers from an operation to remove a damaged, rotting rear flipper, Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital, Gweek, Cornwall,...
Carer feeding recovering Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Uno' a fish in a small swimming pool, Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital,, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, October.  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Carer feeding recovering Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Uno' a fish in a small swimming pool, Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital,, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, October.
Dan Jarvis hand-feeding fish to a recovering Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Uno' in a small swimming pool in the Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, October. Model released.  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Dan Jarvis hand-feeding fish to a recovering Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Uno' in a small swimming pool in the Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, October. Model released.
Recovering Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Uno' in a small swimming pool in the Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, October.  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Recovering Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Uno' in a small swimming pool in the Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, October.
Partially blind Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'One-eyed Jack' learning to find fish for itself in a bowl of seawater in the Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, October.  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Partially blind Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'One-eyed Jack' learning to find fish for itself in a bowl of seawater in the Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, October.
Dan Jarvis feeds a recovering Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Boggle', now with its white baby coat shed, in a cubicle at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, October. Model r...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Dan Jarvis feeds a recovering Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Boggle', now with its white baby coat shed, in a cubicle at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, October. Model r...
Stacey Pryor cutting up line-caught Mackerel (Scomber scombrus) about to be fed to rescued Grey seal pups (Halichoerus grypus), Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, January.  Model released.  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Stacey Pryor cutting up line-caught Mackerel (Scomber scombrus) about to be fed to rescued Grey seal pups (Halichoerus grypus), Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, January. Model released.
Stacey Pryor weighing line-caught Mackerel (Scomber scombrus) about to feed rescued Grey seal pups (Halichoerus grypus), Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, January. Model released.  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Stacey Pryor weighing line-caught Mackerel (Scomber scombrus) about to feed rescued Grey seal pups (Halichoerus grypus), Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, January. Model released.
Keeper placing pills into line-caught Mackerel (Scomber scombrus) about to be fed to Grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) in Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, January. Model released.  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Keeper placing pills into line-caught Mackerel (Scomber scombrus) about to be fed to Grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) in Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, January. Model released.
Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'One-eyed Jack' wrapped in a towel whilst being hand-fed a fish in a cubicle at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, October. Model released.  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'One-eyed Jack' wrapped in a towel whilst being hand-fed a fish in a cubicle at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary hospital, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, October. Model released.
Keeper Jenny Lewis feeding Common / Harbour seal pup (Phoca vitulina) 'Buddy', a long-term resident at Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, January. Model released.  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Keeper Jenny Lewis feeding Common / Harbour seal pup (Phoca vitulina) 'Buddy', a long-term resident at Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, January. Model released.
Common / Harbour seal pup (Phoca vitulina) Buddy with a fish it has been fed in a pool where it is a long-term resident, Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek, Cornwall, UK,  January.  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Common / Harbour seal pup (Phoca vitulina) Buddy with a fish it has been fed in a pool where it is a long-term resident, Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, January.
Rescued Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) resting by a seawater inlet pipe to a convalescence pool where it will be kept until strong enough for release back to the sea, Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Rescued Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) resting by a seawater inlet pipe to a convalescence pool where it will be kept until strong enough for release back to the sea, Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek...
Visitors looking at rescued Grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) in nursery and convalescence pools at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, by the Helford River estuary, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, January.  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Visitors looking at rescued Grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) in nursery and convalescence pools at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, by the Helford River estuary, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, January.
Rescued Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) feeding on line-caught Mackerel in an isolated nursery pool where it will be kept until strong enough to join other pups and then be released back to the sea...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Rescued Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) feeding on line-caught Mackerel in an isolated nursery pool where it will be kept until strong enough to join other pups and then be released back to the sea...
Rescued Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Joker' with severe injuries from entanglement in a fishing net. Kept in isolated nursery pool where it will be kept until strong enough to join other pups a...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Rescued Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Joker' with severe injuries from entanglement in a fishing net. Kept in isolated nursery pool where it will be kept until strong enough to join other pups a...
Rescued Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Iron man' with severe injuries from entanglement in a fishing net, gradually healing in a convalescence pool where he was kept until strong enough to be rel...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Rescued Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) 'Iron man' with severe injuries from entanglement in a fishing net, gradually healing in a convalescence pool where he was kept until strong enough to be rel...
Rescued Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) fed with fish by Dan Jarvis - hidden so the pup doesn't associate people with food. In isolated nursery pool where it will be kept until strong enough to joi...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Rescued Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) fed with fish by Dan Jarvis - hidden so the pup doesn't associate people with food. In isolated nursery pool where it will be kept until strong enough to joi...
Rescued Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) in an isolated nursery pool where it will be kept until strong enough to join other pups and then be released back to the sea, Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek,...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Rescued Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) in an isolated nursery pool where it will be kept until strong enough to join other pups and then be released back to the sea, Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek,...
Rescued Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) in an isolated nursery pool where it will be kept until strong enough to join other pups and then be released back to the sea, Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek,...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Rescued Grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) in an isolated nursery pool where it will be kept until strong enough to join other pups and then be released back to the sea, Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek,...
Dan Jarvis giving 'Ray', a brain damaged adult male Grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) a rub with a broom at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary where he is a long term resident alongside recovering pups, Gweek, C...  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Dan Jarvis giving 'Ray', a brain damaged adult male Grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) a rub with a broom at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary where he is a long term resident alongside recovering pups, Gweek, C...
Adult female Common / Harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) 'Luna', blinded by cataracts in both eyes, in a pool where she is a long-term resident, Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, January.  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Adult female Common / Harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) 'Luna', blinded by cataracts in both eyes, in a pool where she is a long-term resident, Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, January.
One eyed adult male Common / Harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) 'Babyface' with nostrils wide open,  in a pool where he is a long-term resident, Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, January.  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / One eyed adult male Common / Harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) 'Babyface' with nostrils wide open, in a pool where he is a long-term resident, Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek, Cornwall, UK, January.
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