Australia

Sydney storm: Rescued baby seal returns to the wild

Elvis the seal Image copyright Taronga Zoo
Image caption Elvis was found exhausted and malnourished after storms caused coastal chaos in Australia

A young fur seal that was rescued after strong storms in Sydney, Australia has been released back into the wild.

Torrential rain and high winds along Australia's east coast earlier in June killed three people, left homes without power and caused extensive flooding.

Rescue groups found the 18-month-old pup "malnourished and exhausted".

Nicknamed "Elvis", the seal spent two weeks with veterinary officials from Sydney's Taronga Wildlife Hospital and made a speedy recovery.

"Elvis was one of the lucky ones," said senior veterinarian Larry Vogelnest. "He was pretty feisty when he first arrived, a good indicator that he'd be suitable for short-term care and release."

He added that Elvis received round-the-clock care, antibiotics and a daily diet of fresh fish.

Image copyright Taronga Zoo
Image caption Elvis won the hearts of the zoo's veterinary officials with his feisty attitude

Officials tagged the young pup with a microchip and released him into waters outside the entrance to Sydney Harbour.

Zoo experts said Elvis was likely to stay in waters around Sydney in the short term, before eventually heading south.

"He looked fantastic and alert in the water, so we can only hope he grows up to be a big, healthy seal," said Taronga Zoo spokesman Paul Fahy.

Image copyright Taronga Zoo
Image caption Zoo officials said the pup was initially "hesitant" to get into the water
Image copyright Taronga Zoo
Image caption After his initial reluctance, he dived in and was soon swimming strongly

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