37 seals who have been through kidnap hell, are finally set free in the sea in China. Three months ago they were stolen from their moms at less than two weeks old, crammed in a dark shed to be sold into the aquarium industry or used as display props in shops and restaurants.
Police discovered the stolen pups in a farm in a village in Wafangdian in China. They were starving and dying in a shed. In total the police found 71 seal pups alive but highly distressed, another 29 had already died and a further 20 dead seals were later found buried under nearby concrete.
The rescued pups required emergency veterinary care at a local institute of marine sciences. The weakest pups still died at the marine hospital. The ones that survived were given proper care and finally released back into the wild.
Doctor Peter Li at Humane Society International said: “For these seal pups to have been cruelly ripped away from their mothers, and crammed into a dark shed to await their fate, is really contemptible. Sadly, China’s growing obsession for keeping marine species like seals and turtles in captivity is fuelling wildlife crime such as this, which causes immense animal suffering and loss of life.”
Spotted seals live in the North Pacific Ocean and can be found along the north-eastern coast of China. Although the hunting or trading of spotted seals without permission is banned by China’s Wildlife Protection Law, it remains a huge problem.