A seal pup found injured on a Victorian beach is settling into her new life at Melbourne Zoo.
Bella, an eight-month-old Australian fur seal, was found on a beach near Queenscliff two months ago with a large abscess on her flipper and bite wounds all over her body, possibly caused by a dog.
She has since been cared for by vets at Melbourne Zoo who were pleased to report a clean bill of health on Saturday.
"We knew that Bella in the condition that she was in was unlikely to survive, in fact, unlikely to survive 24 hours," Wild Sea Life manager Adrian Howard said.
"She's spent the last two months in our specially-made seal rehabilitation area where she received medication and care to return her to health."
Part of her rehabilitation included weaning her off milk to eating fish, much like a human baby making the switch to solids.
It is too risky to release Bella - a lone seal pup - back into the ocean. Instead, she will join four other seals at Melbourne Zoo's Wild Sea exhibit.
"What that means is the next step in the process is getting her used to her new area and also getting her used to her new neighbours," Mr Howard said.
"We have four other seals here at the zoo and we will be introducing those four seals individually to Bella and then introducing them all together."
Bella, named after the Bellarine Peninsula where she was rescued, will be closely monitored over the coming days as she settles into her new surroundings.
Australian Associated Press