Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Seal scales fence to reach pup at St Andrews Aquarium

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Media captionA seal at St Andrews Aquarium scales a metal barrier to take a dip with the seal pup in the neighbouring pool

A 14 stone (90kg) harbour seal's successful attempt to overcome a metal barrier to welcome a new pup to her Fife aquarium has been caught on CCTV.

Managers at St Andrews Aquarium said they were "amazed" by Laurel's strength and tenacity to overcome a 4ft (1.2m) fence to reach the new arrival Togo.

Officials had planned to introduce the pair in a few weeks time.

However Laurel, 20, was unable to wait and 15 minutes after the park closed on Friday she broke into the other cage.

When workers arrived on Saturday they discovered Laurel was not in her enclosure and found her playing with one-year-old Togo in his new pool.

Security camera footage from the aquarium shows the seal making several unsuccessful attempts to scale the barrier fencing, hampered by her sheer size and physical make-up.

However, despite physical challenges, Laurel is seen using her front flippers to hoist her large, heavy body onto the top of the barrier, before wobbling slightly and eventually toppling over the fence to the other side to meet Togo.

Togo, a one-year-old seal pup who was flown Denmark to his new home at St Andrews Aquarium, on Thursday, was in a separate pool to allow him time to adjust to his new surroundings.

Laurel was in a pool next to Togo's, separated by the high metal fencing.

John Mace, manager of St Andrews Aquarium, said: "We couldn't believe it when we came in on Saturday morning to find Laurel and Togo swimming around together.

"There was evidence that the fencing was slightly damaged, but when we watched back the security camera footage we just couldn't believe what we were seeing.

"Laurel was clearly determined to get in to see Togo and obviously wasn't going to let metal security fencing stand in her way.

"We have been amazed by both her strength and her tenacity."

The barrier between both enclosures has now been taken down so the pair have both pools to swim in together.

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