The RSPCA is again warning about the dangers of fishing litter after a seal suffered horrific injuries after becoming tangled in a line and hooks.
The grey seal pup was collected by an RSPCA inspector on Monday 12 August from Blakeney, Norfolk and taken to the RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre for treatment.
Staff at the hospital wee horrified to find the pup had become entangled in a line and hooks and the catalogue of injuries included a barbed hook in his back; a hook in his neck; a hook and weight in his flipper and a line around the muzzle.
Alison Charles, centre manager, said: “This poor seal pup was in a terrible state. All the places where the hooks had entered his body were infected.
“We gave him an anaesthetic so that we could then work on removing them. The line had almost acted like a cheese wire around his muzzle and cut off his blood supply and nerves at the end of his nose.
“I can honestly say in all my years of working for the RSPCA I have never seen anything so horrible, and to make matters worse this poor seal was still alive and enduring this horrendous pain.
“Sadly his injuries were too severe and infected for us to be able to save him, so the kindest thing the vet could do was to put him to sleep in order to stop his suffering. Who knows how long he had been suffering like this, it was truly heartbreaking to see and upsetting knowing this could have easily been prevented.”
The RSPCA does see an increase in animals being injured by fishing litter during the summer holidays, when inexperienced anglers are more likely to take advantage of the warmer weather and holiday time.
Floats and weights get caught in throats, hooks pierce skin and beaks and fishing litter frequently gets wrapped around the limbs of all kinds of animals. Of course most people who fish are responsible with their lines and litter and take care to dispose of them properly, but it only takes one careless person to not watch their line or to toss aside a bit of line or float with horrific consequences.
The RSPCA has been working with the Angling Trust and the Environment Agency, to reduce the impact of lost and discarded fishing tackle which causes injuries to wildlife.
To help the RSPCA with its rescue work text HELP to 78866 to give £3 (texts costs £3 +
one standard network rate message.