On a sunny Tuesday morning, 12 seals that were previously found in Smiltynė on Lithuania’s Curonian Spit were released back into the Baltic Sea.
Twenty seals were found in early spring, and after growing to at least 40 kilogrammes over five months, they were strong enough to return to the wild, according to a press release by Lithuania’s Sea Museum.
The twelve seals had been named Dziegorėlis, Žebelė, Kvietka, Kurdupelis, Zliosė, Juoris, Tešlius, Ciongs, Drapana, Gaida, Gleizius, and Videlčius.
The seals will likely head to the waters off the coast of Poland and Estonia that have larger seal colonies, according to Arūnas Grušas from the museum.
The remaining nine seals will be released into the Baltic Sea when they grow to the necessary size. One seal, unfortunately, passed away.
The Baltic grey seals – Halichoerus grypus macrorhynchus – are a rare and endangered species that is protected in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, and Russia.
They have lived in the Baltic Sea for 10,000 years.