Rescued seal pups swim to freedom - pics
Keepers released a group of young seals into the North Sea on Wednesday, after spending six weeks rearing them back to health.
The pups, Helena, Bruno, Hermann and Madame Mim, were taken by boat to a sandbank near the North Sea island of Juist. They arrived at the Norden-Norddeich seal rescue centre six weeks ago, weak and too small to survive outdoors.
Keepers lifted the lids off their baskets and nudged them towards the chilly waters, and into freedom.
Bad weather or human interference had meant that the pups were separated, like many others each year, from their mothers and were washed up on the beach where they were found and collected by the rescue centre staff.
Staff at the centre care for seal pups until they weigh 28 kilos, when keepers have to say goodbye and release them into the wild. At the Norden-Norddeich centre in Schleswig-Holstein, baby seals are given names of people who donate money to the good cause.