Ecomare is a seal sanctuary on Texel (the largest of the Wadden islands 25x8km) NL.
Every year 40-70 seals are rehabilitated at Ecomare, sick and injured harbour and grey seals with the intention when possible of released back in to the Waddenzee. This is once the seals are healthy, a certain weight and can catch fish for themselves . There are some seals which for various reasons (we saw one which was blind) can't be released but are continued to be cared for.
These harbour seals are about to be realeased! There wer 8 in all just about ready to go.
We were able to get really close to the seals and the enclosures were partially glazed so we could see what they were up to in the water as well. They are just so lovely, especially the harbour seals.
In the 1988 there was a virus which wiped out 60% of the harbour seals around The Wadden islands, very worrying times but it meant those which survived were the strongest and fittest and the population soon started to grow again.
It was rather frustrating as there was renovation work and building of new pools being done so we were rather restricted on what we could see outside.
The work should be completed by the end of the month so we were a week or so too early, but we loved Texel so much there will be plenty more visits to the island so we can come back to Ecomare, what was being done looked lovely.
It isn't only a seal sanctuary there is so much more there.
I was wanting to see the bird hospital where injured are treated, sick and oil covered sea birds are cleaned. The good news was there were only 4 bird's there, the bad news was it was one of the places we couldn't visit.
Outside when you arrive is the practically complete skeleton of a decomposing sperm whale washed up on the island years ago, the top part of the jaw/head is missing, but you can still gauge the sheer size of it- even bigger covered ib blubber!
In the basement there are open aquarium's where you can see the sort of fish, shellfish, sea anemones and crabs etc in the sea's around the islands (The Wadden Sea & North sea).
Hanging from the ceiling are skeletons and models of sea mammals and fish.
On the ground floor there is a small natural history museum pertaining to islands and water surrounding them.
An exhibition area with the biology of the island and the sea and the history surrounding them.
Glass cases containing hundreds of shells and goodness knows what and life size model a wooly Rhino (I didn't know they existed) and bones of other creatures fished out the sea's around Texel -in this ice age the sea wasn't there and it was mainly dry.
An area to show how The Netherlands use the sea for transport, commodities a source of energy and food and military training exercises.
and another displaying art work and poems about the sea.
I don't usually like stuffed animals but on a landing above the ground floor are three large glass display cases full of stuffed bird in natural poses. One case, for sea birds, another for the birds found in the country side/farm lands and the last for birds found in the villages and small town of Texel. It was really interesting looking at these and getting a real idea of size and plumage - I was surprised how much I did like this exhibit.
Everything inside is spacious and modern, with interactive things to do and films to watch.
With a nice cafe (delicious appleflaps!), clean toilets and a gift shop, then a visitors center for the NP De Duinen van Texel in the building and a 3km walk which takes you through the heath and into the dunes so you can get a real feel for the area - a great little place to visit