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Swan father Olaf Nieß (2022)

Photo: Ulrich Perrey/dpa

An exhausted baby seal was found at the jetty of the aircraft manufacturer Airbus in the Hamburg port area. Company employees discovered the animal and informed the swan father Olaf Nieß and his team, who are responsible for animal emergencies. They collected the young animal and first took it to the swan's quarters.

»In terms of overall condition, the seal is very strong. She will need a few more days of observation,” said Nieß. The animal had a minor injury to its eye.

From the swan quarters, the seal was taken to the seal station in Friedrichskoog in the morning after an initial examination. There the parentless cub will now be medically examined, nursed and, if successful, released back into the wild.

It was only at the weekend that the first young gray seals of the current birthing season were released into the North Sea from the seal station in Schleswig-Holstein. The whelping and mating season for gray seals begins at the beginning of November and ends in January. The main birth season in Schleswig-Holstein is in December.

The Hamburg Schwanenwesen is a municipal department. It has a centuries-long tradition, because in Hamburg the swans are considered a symbol of the freedom and independence of the Hanseatic city - and one of Hamburg's landmarks. The office of Swan Father has existed since 1674. Olaf Nieß occupies what is probably the oldest position in the city of Hamburg.