Judi Dench among three seal pups released in Cornwall

The released seals
Judi Dench was among three seals released on the Cornish coast
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A seal named after Dame Judi Dench has been released back into the wild waves of Cornwall.

Judi the grey seal was among three to go free at Perranuthnoe, near Penzance, in the Cornish Seal Sanctuary's first release of the season.

Her name was chosen after a visit from the Oscar-winning actress coincided with the pup's rescue.

She was released alongside Owen Wilson and Jack Black, named by the staff in line with this year's "actors" theme.

The trio seemed to enjoy their new-found freedom, said senior animal care specialist Elliot Badrick.

"They are just frolicking around in the water," he said.

"It's really unusual, I think it's because there's not many waves."

Judi Dench the seal
Judi Dench tested the water before taking the plunge

Judi the seal was found dehydrated and with several wounds in October on Millook Haven Beach.

Oscar-winning actress Dame Judi Dench was visiting the centre in Gweek on the same day with her family.

After adopting her namesake pup, the theatre and movie star was "delighted" at the release, said Leanne Atwood, fundraising manager.

"I did speak to her and her daughter yesterday and, unfortunately, they can't make it down; but are very excited to be seeing the film and video afterwards.

"They are hoping to come and visit us again soon, which will be lovely."

Mark Holman, volunteer medic with the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, said to see seal pups get to the point of being released was "amazing".

The sanctuary said about 70 pups would be rehabilitated between September and March, at an average cost of £2,000 a time.

It said staff wanted to reiterate the public message not to disturb any seal pups at this time of year, and to keep dogs on leads and children away.

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