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West Norfolk Council's decision to ban flying rings on King's Lynn's surrounding beaches gets seal of approval





A ban on flying rings – a type of frisbee with a hole cut out in the middle – on beaches has been welcomed by a group who see first hand the risk caused to seals when they get trapped around their necks.

If discarded, inquisitive seals may play with them and get the rings stuck around their necks.

With a recent ban of the objects on coastal beaches supported by members of West Norfolk Council, the vice chairman of Friends of Horsey Seals, David Vyse, has welcomed the decision.

Watch as Mrs Vicar the seal is rescued (contains distressing images)

He said: “We are absolutely so pleased and we hope this is the first council of many. It is enlightening that they have taken these steps.

“Flying rings are a massive problem to seals. They are made in their millions and we are asking people to not play with them on the beach.

“Many beaches, Hunstanton, Horsey, Waxham and Winterton, and see a lot of seals and there have been an awful lot with flying rings round their necks.

Flying rings get caught around seals' necks and cause wounds and possible death
Flying rings get caught around seals' necks and cause wounds and possible death

“We have saved at least 10 in the last couple of years, or which have been trapped in fishing nets and plastics, where we carry out rescues and take them to the RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre.

“The flying rings cause deep wounds and the blubber and skin grows over the ring.

“They are sharp and dig into their necks.

“Some seals have died on the beach, decapitated.”

Paul Kunes, West Norfolk Council cabinet member for environment: “We take our
responsibilities to the wildlife of West Norfolk seriously and this is one of a range of measures that we have put in place to discourage people, albeit
often unwittingly, from causing harm.

“As cabinet member with responsibility for the environment I am happy to back actions such as these, which protect and nurture our wildlife.”

Cllr Sandra Squire added: “We have all seen the terrible suffering seals experience when they become caught in flying rings.

“In this rural and coastal borough our wildlife is critically important and if this ban discourages people from using flying rings on our beaches then I am happy to support it.”

A seal with a flying ring around its neck will be rescued by Friends of Horsey Seals and taken to RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre to have it removed
A seal with a flying ring around its neck will be rescued by Friends of Horsey Seals and taken to RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre to have it removed

Mr Vyse added: “We eventually rescued a seal we named Mrs Vicar due to the white colouring under her chin.

“For two and a half years we tried to catch her as she had a flying ring around her neck.

“We took her to East Winch where she stayed for three months, having salt baths every day to treat the deep wounds, until she was released into the sea.

“I volunteer there one day a week and they look after the seals with real dedication. They saved her life.”

"We have been campaigning with Friends of Horsey Seals, and the North Norfolk District Council as part of the 'Safer Seals Campaign' for nearly two years. Through the campaign work we have been discussing the impact of the rings, their implications and the concerns. This ban on flying rings is such a great step in helping the wildlife on our beaches.An alternative to the ban could be using sold biodegradable frisbees.

A spokesperson from RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre said: "We have to say a huge well done to our staff member and volunteer Jenny Hobson who has led this campaign and has been pushing this forward and we are so grateful to her and all involved especially the Friends of Horsey Seals.

"Yearly, we are one of the only few wildlife centres in the country that can rehabilitate adult entangled seals.

"Sadly though we are admitting more entangled seals every year with various litter injuries - we hope more councils along the coast will consider following in the steps of West Norfolk Council and introduce their own bans for their beaches."



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