In February, Dalian police in China found 71 stolen seal pups in a shed at a remote coastal farm that were taken from the wild by traffickers. They planned to sell the seals to aquariums and commercial venues like shops and restaurants for display. The seal pups were so young they hadn’t even been weaned and were in such distress that 29 pups had already died and 20 more were found buried nearby.

Some pups who were sick unfortunately died since the rescue, but the healthy ones that survived were recently released back into the sea by Humane Society International!


Spotted seals are a protected species in China, but they are still illegally trafficked. Dr. Peter Li of Humane Society International said, “When the pups were found by police, they were starving and traumatised, but after receiving veterinary care and rehabilitation, they are now in good health and have a good chance of thriving back at sea. For these seal pups to have been cruelly ripped away from their mothers, and crammed into a dark shed to await their fate, is really contemptible.” He also went on to praise Dalian police for their wonderful work in rescuing the pups.

A video shared by the Humane Society shows the pups being released into the sea where they happily swim away!

Although the seal pups should never have been stolen from their mothers and sadly many didn’t make it, we are happy the Dalian police acted quickly and enforced the law. We’re also happy that organizations like Humane Society International exist to save these animals and give them better endings.

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