Page last updated at 13:18 GMT, Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Maximus to be released into wild

Maximus at the Mousehole Animal Sanctuary
Maximus, was plucked to safety from the Bass Rock and has spent the last days of his recuperation at Mousehole Animal Sanctuary

A seabird chick rescued from an island off the East Lothian coast after it was abandoned by its parents is to be released back into the wild.

Maximus the gannet set a UK record for the latest chick ever recorded when he was plucked to safety on 4 December from the Bass Rock in the Forth.

His carers will release him 50 miles out to sea off the Cornish coast on Wednesday.

He was taken from Scotland to Cornwall by Navy helicopter on 7 January.

Maximus' parents had been feeding him twice a day up until five days before he was rescued when they gave up as he had been born so late in the season the weather was becoming too bad for him to be looked after.

Local resident Pat Macaulay looked after Maximus near its North Berwick base for a month until he was the 4kg weight to allow him to be released into the sea.

He was then taken from HMS Gannet in Prestwick by Sea King to Cornwall where the sea is warmer.

Now after about two weeks at Mousehole Animal Sanctuary in Cornwall he is to be taken by large fishing boat out to sea.

It is hoped Maximus learns how to fly before heading off towards the Bay of Biscay or Africa for the next two years, until hopefully he becomes an adult gannet.

A spokeswoman for The Scottish Seabird Centre, which organised the rescue of Maximus, said: "We've also had the first sighting of the first adult gannets coming back to think about nesting again.

"They won't land on the Bass Rock for a while though, probably the end of this month/beginning of next."

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