Sunday, 30 July 2006

Bearded Seal enjoying French Cuisine!

LE HAVRE, France (AFP) - A bearded seal, a species usually found in the cold waters of the Arctic circle, has been spotted in the river Seine in France where he is believed to have set up home in the spring, an animal expert told AFP.

"In two centuries, this is the second time a seal of this species, recognisable by its long moustache, has been reported in France and in the first case it was dead," said Alain Beaufils, the head of the CHENE centre for wild animals in Allouville in the north of the country.

"It's a young two-year-old male which must weigh 150 kilograms (330 pounds) and which has put on weight since he arrived judging by the photos," he added.

The animal seems in good health and is believed to have been enjoying a diet of fish, shellfish and crustaceans in the river, which runs 780 kilometres (485 miles) from its source south of Paris to its mouth on the English Channel.

The seal was spotted for the first time in May near the northern town of Rouen but has since negotiated a number of locks and has been reported at a different locations.

"He must be hot, especially at the moment, but he obviously isn't trying to get back to the north," added Beaufils.