Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting EJ NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Keith is back with taste for paddle board
8:00am Thursday 21st March 2013 in Tewkesbury
FANS of Keith the Seal can breathe a sign of relief after the marine mammal was spotted downstream following months of no sightings.
The favourite flippered friend was filmed by stand-up paddle boarders swimming in the Severn on Saturday, just below Gloucester.
Keith, who is thought to be a female, had not been seen since January when she was spotted in Tewkesbury, prompting fears something had happened to her. She was previously spotted in Upton and Worcester.
Fearing she was depleting fish stocks, the Angling Trust applied for a licence to shoot the seal but amid much uproar they struck a deal with British Divers Marine Life Rescue to move the animal instead.
Nothing was heard from Keith until Tristan Bawn filmed the seal playfully nibbling at his inflatable paddle board and swimming beside them at the weekend.
He posted the footage on the Facebook page for his charity Source 2 Sea 2013 and it quickly went viral.
Excited messages began coming through from people in Worcester and Bewdley telling the 34-year-old all about Keith.
Mr Bawn, of Bristol, said: “I heard a surfacing noise thinking it sounded like a seal and when I turned around there literally was a seal about a foot behind my board.
“She was very confident and was playfully grabbing the paddle, pulling on the leash and trying to nibble the board.
“Once we posted the video we had hundreds and hundreds of comments from people and that’s when we heard about Keith.”
Lisa Ventura, of Lower Wick, administrator of the Save Keith the Seal page, said lots of messages had been left on the page asking about mammal’s whereabouts.
“When Keith hadn’t been seen for a little while I was very worried about her but judging by the recording she is very happy and safe,” she said.
“I think it was such an unusual thing for Worcestershire it has become a nice story to follow.”