Page last updated at 11:54 GMT, Thursday, 24 April 2008 12:54 UK

Bird fight seal nearly loses eye

Tegan the seal. Pic: National Seal Sanctuary
Tegan was supposed to be released in about a month

A seal who got caught in a fight between a seagull and a heron was lucky not to lose her eye, according to staff at a Cornish seal sanctuary.

Tegan, a grey seal, is being treated at the Gweek sanctuary's hospital block.

The birds were fighting over a fish during feeding time. Six-month-old Tegan came up between them and was struck in the eye by the heron's beak.

It was first thought the lens of her eye had been ruptured which would have meant it would have had to be removed.

But it turned out the lens was scratched - requiring 10 days of treatment.

Tegan, who has been at the sanctuary since 10 December, was due to be released in four weeks' time and the accident has now delayed her return to the wild.

"It's a real shame," said the sanctuary's Rachael Vine.

Tegan will have stay at the centre a while longer

"She really doesn't like being stuck on her own and her eye cream means she can't go in the pool at the moment, she's really pretty miserable."

She said the seabirds could be "a bit of nuisance" at feeding time.

"The seagulls and herons know when feeding time is because we feed at regular times for the visitors."

The sanctuary is also looking after its latest arrival - a white coat seal which was brought in from Constantine Bay.

"We can't work out if it's a very early or a very late pup, they are not normally born at this time of year," said Ms Vine.

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