Lifeboat crew spot ‘Sammy The Seal’ emerge from River Thames - and captured the moment on their smartphone

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The grey seal was first spotted by lifeboat crews as it made its way to Eel Pie Island gracing the River Thames.

A seal surprised a lifeboat crew as it introduced itself by emerging from a UK river, hopping on top of a kayak mount. The special meeting between the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and the animal now named ‘Sammy The Seal’ was caught on video.

The RNLI confirmed they had welcomed the “special guest” on Friday (January 20). The remarkable encounter took place as the animal played in the River Thames, outside a station in Teddington Lock, London.

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A number of passers-by were graced with the presence of Sammy throughout the day - with Tobias Handschuh first noticing it when he spotted a “strange thing floating in the river”. The amateur photographer also documented the moment it feasted on some fish later in the day.

Footage of the chance meeting between the seal and the charity was posted on social media captioned “good to see”. An RNLI spokesperson told the BBC: “Our station is busy but being this close to nature is definitely one of the perks of the job”.

It comes at a time that the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) concluded the grey seal population in the River Thames is “growing”. Researchers have found there were as many as 2,866 grey seals living in the river after pupping season in 2021.

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