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Colossus the seal is released back into the wild following East Winch care

One of the largest patients at East Winch's RSPCA Wildlife Centre has been released back to his natural environment.

Colossus had been recovering at the centre after being rescued from Waxham Beach with fishing litter embedded in his neck.

The seal was rescued on New Year's Eve by Friends of Horsey Seals and Marine & Wildlife Rescue.

Colossus has been released back to the wild. Picture: RSPCA (32045952)
Colossus has been released back to the wild. Picture: RSPCA (32045952)

Staff and vets had to carry out the intricate and difficult task of removing the old fishing netting which had become so tightly wrapped around his neck it caused a severely infected two-inch deep wound.

His recovery has been swift and he received antibiotics, pain relief and regular salt baths to help the wound heal.

Alison Charles, manager of East Winch's Wildlife Centre, said: “The task of removing the netting is extremely difficult and a painstaking procedure as our vets have to pull the netting out of his neck because the skin has grown over it, due to the netting being there for such a long time.

Colossus has been released back to the wild. Picture: RSPCA (32045956)
Colossus has been released back to the wild. Picture: RSPCA (32045956)

"This was probably the worst fishing net injury we have had to deal with and it requires a huge amount of skill to remove the netting without causing further damage.

"However because our vets are having to deal with these kinds of injuries more and more often, they are more experienced in this difficult procedure.

“The old fishing net must have been embedded deep in the flesh of his neck for some time, causing a rampant infection and he was very underweight. We cleaned the wound and immediately put him on pain-killers and antibiotics.

“For the first three days he was worryingly quiet and almost motionless, lying on his back with his neck on the floor. But when he started hoovering up fish again, we knew he was on the mend."

The centre estimates Colossus weighed around 200kg on release having increased his bodyweight by 50 per cent while he was at the centre.

In 2019, the centre looked after a record 11 seals, compared to eight in 2018 and four in 2017.

The centre is currently caring for another injured seal with a netting neck injury called Bouncy Castle who was also found with fishing netting around her neck. She is currently receiving on-going treatment which requires regular salt baths.

A netting injured seal requires at least four 25kg bags of salt a day as part of their rehabilitation.

Each bag costs more than £13. Anyone who would like to help, can make a donation of a salt bag through the East Winch Amazon wish list: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/registry/wishlist/2QW97YL6JNRPQ/ref=pdp_new_wl

The delivery address is: RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre, Gayton Road, East Winch, King’s Lynn, Norfolk , PE32 1LG

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