The RSPCA is caring for an injured seal after she was found on Horsey Beach, Norfolk with a frisbee embedded in her neck.
The seal who has been named Frisbee, was rescued by the Friends of Horsey Seals yesterday (Thursday 15 September) who managed to get close enough to catch her with a net.
The adult female grey seal may have been swimming around with the yellow frisbee on her neck for up to six months, but despite efforts to catch her she would always be with a large group of seals and if one was spooked the whole group would disperse making it impossible to get near her.
However, as her condition has slowly deteriorated, rescuers were able to get closer to her and when she was spotted on the beach yesterday the Friends of Horsey Seals were able to finally catch her.
She has been taken to RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre where staff removed the embedded frisbee from her neck.
Alison Charles, Centre Manager, said: “Poor Frisbee was extremely emaciated when she came in and it will take a long while for her to gain weight again as she had clearly been starving for a long period of time.
“Seals are inquisitive creatures by nature, so it’s likely she spotted the frisbee in the water and went over to investigate and that’s how it became stuck round her neck. Over the months she has grown and as result it has become more and more embedded in her neck and it is likely that towards the end it would have been restricting her from eating and drinking.
“We cut the frisbee off, but once removed it was clear to see this awful deep wound on her neck, it was just horrible to see, the poor girl. Once removed, she started to shake her head, so I guess it was a relief to have it off after all those months. She then had a long drink of water.
“She’s not out of the woods yet though. This is a very deep and infected wound so we will be treating her for a number of months. She has been given antibiotics, painkillers and steroids and we will do everything we can to help her.
“We are so grateful to the Friends of Horsey Seals for their perseverance in catching her, if they hadn’t got her, it’s likely she would have died. We are also grateful to the public for getting in touch when they spotted her at Horsey.
“It is heart-breaking to think that this could have been prevented if people just took extra care with their litter on the coastline. Many people are just unaware of the problems discarded litter can cause for our wildlife.”
This incident highlights the dangers of plastic marine litter to wildlife. Only a month ago, the RSPCA had to rescue another seal with a plastic frisbee round its neck.
Alison added: “If someone does lose a frisbee on the beach, we would urge them to make efforts to find it, obviously only if it safe to do so, but if this frisbee had been picked up, this grey seal would not have had to endure so much pain and suffering over the last few months.”
Peter Ansell, the chair of Friends of Horsey Seals, added: “We would also plea to the public to take their litter home. And urge anyone who wants to help Frisbee to support the RSPCA’s appeal for contributions towards her recovery.”
Frisbee is likely to be in RSPCA for at least five months. And she will require at least four 25kg bags of salts a day as part of her rehabilitation. Each bag costs more than £13. Anyone who would like to help her can make a donation of a salt bag can do so through the East Winch Amazon wish list: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/registry/wishlist/2QW97YL6JNRPQ/ref=pdp_new_wl
If you see an animal you have concerns about please call the RSPCA’s emergency line on 0300 1234 999. For more information on what to do with injured wild animals, visit the RSPCA’s website at: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/wildlife/injuredanimals
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please text RSPCA3 to 70007 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).