Lost seal spotted swimming around Amsterdam

Lost ringed seal swimming near a sliding gate in De Kwakel, 23 June 2019
Lost ringed seal swimming near a sliding gate in De Kwakel, 23 June 2019. (Photo: Politie Aalsmeer Uithoorn/Facebook)

A new search effort was planned for Monday to find a seal that was apparently lost in inland waters, and trying to make its way back to the North Sea. Experts said it appeared to be a ringed seal native to the arctic waters near Norway.

Emergency services were alerted when the seal was seen swimming near a sliding gate on Sunday afternoon in De Kwakel, a small Noord-Holland village south of Schiphol Airport. After discussing the situation with the staff at the Sealcentre Pieterburen, a seal rescue and rehabilitation organization, the sluis was opened in the hope the animal would continue towards Uithoorn.

From there, experts predicted the seal could find the Amstel and the IJ river, eventually making its way out to sea. Some people in Amsterdam reported seeing the seal taking a rest around 6 p.m., according to newspaper AD.

An animal rescue volunteer team tried to reach the seal and provide aid in case it was too tired to continue on its journey, but the seal was gone before they arrived. They continued to look for the seal but called off the search when it became too dark outside.

The group, Eerste Hulp bij Zeezogdieren (EHBZ), was expected to continue the search on Monday.

“If necessary, we will catch it, lend a helping hand and bring it closer to the sea ourselves,”  Sander van Dijk, a representative of EHBZ, told the newspaper. He said it is the third ringed seal to reach the Netherlands in the past six years.

There was also an additional concern for the arctic animal’s welfare considering the hot weather expected in the Netherlands this week.

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