There are some efforts that cannot be praised enough. To me, animal protection and rescue is such an effort. Therefore, I was more than curious to learn how a seal rescue centre is run. A little while ago we visited the seal rescue centre Friedrichskoog.
I felt a little like I was about to visit a zoo. Families stood around the basins, kids were squealing with excitement when they spotted a seal and most paths were obstructed by prams. I felt like many of them were looking for something here to mix up the day to day life or their holiday and that only very few of them were interested in the work and the mission of the rescue centre.
The info centre of the seal rescue centre Friedrichskoog
Visitors get to learn a lot about seals, marine mammals and tidal flats in the exhibition at the seal rescue centre Freidrichskoog. It is a pity that only very fee visitors come inside to look at the extensive amount of information (as opposed to the many that come to see the outside seal habitats).
It is great that the exhibition allows visitors to engage with the exhibits. There are opportunities to feel, hear and see – to experience the exhibits with all senses. I find this so important, especially for children. That way, the information stays with them and it is easier to memorise what they have learned! To touch a piece of seal fur was a completely new experience for me, too.
Why is the seal rescue centre so important?
Sharing knowledge is not the only focus of the rescue centre. First and foremost it is about protecting the animals. Injured animals or abandoned young are brought here and are lovingly cared for.
Seal pups that are separated from their mothers during the first few weeks of life are called “Heuler” (howler). As for most young that are prematurely separated from their parents, the chances of survival are very slim for howlers. Therefore, it is of great importance that these animals receive support as quickly as possible. When spotting a howler, there are some things to keep in mind for their protection: do not touch them, stay as far away from them as possible and inform the police or a rescue centre immediately.
Rescue centre staff will pick up the young and start adequate care. The rescue centre’s work is of the highest standard when it comes to the veterinary check-ups, feeding, socialising and releasing the animals into the wild. The details of this work are not being shown to visitors. The young are kept away from human encounter as much as possible to ensure that releasing them back into the wild will go smoothly when they are ready. This is why the seal pups are mostly being kept out of sight from the visitors.
Another area of work for the centre is research. They run different research project around seals.
Can you see actual seals at the rescue centre?
What would a rescue centre that is open to visitors be without some actual animals to look at. Friedrichskoog is home to some seals that were born in captivity or could not be released back into the wild for other reasons. Visitors can see grey seals and harbour seals, two different seal species that live in the North Sea, in big basins at Friedrichskoog. Public feedings take place daily at scheduled times.
We loved our trip to the seal rescue centre Friedrichskoog. We learned a lot and enjoyed observing the animals.
I also find the ticket pricing justified as it serves as a contribution to the conservation of our local fauna.
An der Seeschleuse 4
April to October
Daily 10.00 – 18.00
November to March
Daily 10.00 – 16.00
March to October
daily at 10.30, 14.00 and 17.30
November to February
Daily at 10.30 and 14.00
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