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East Winch rescue team remove plastic ring around seal's neck that was there for a shocking amount of time

A seal has been rescued after a plastic ring was embedded in it's neck for two years.

The seal, named "Mrs Vicar" came into the care of the RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre in Norfolk thanks to the seal rescue team, part of Friends of Horsey Seals.

The adult grey seal had a rigid 2.5cm white plastic ring deeply embedded in her neck. The ring has been caught around her neck for around two and a half years, according to sightings, as seals are sadly unable to get rings off their heads once they are trapped in them. As she grew bigger it began to cut deeper into her neck and caused a 7cm deep wound, which had also become infected and was very smelly.

The plastic ring was removed by a team of experts at East Winch (45918394)
The plastic ring was removed by a team of experts at East Winch (45918394)

Attempts had been made to catch the seal previously and rescuers were finally successful over the Easter weekend.

The vet at the centre gently removed the ring while the female seal was held by wildlife assistants. The RSPCA says that handling adult seals is never to be attempted by the public, even if they are entangled.

The seal's neck was then bathed and she was injected with antibiotics and pain relief and allowed to rest.

Alison Charles, manager at RSPCA East Winch, said: “Sadly, we know the seal had the ring around her neck for over two years! I’m so grateful she’s now been rescued and we can care for her. She is very quiet this morning and her wound is very sore with a bad smell but we are hopeful she will recover."

The plastic ring was removed by a team of experts at East Winch (45918386)
The plastic ring was removed by a team of experts at East Winch (45918386)

“We can start giving her the salty baths she needs to help her neck wound recover soon. We add two 25kg bags of salt to each bath and she has one bath a day until her neck has begun to granulate. This is the healing process when you can not debride and stitch a wound.

“It’s so infuriating knowing that this injury could have been prevented. All we can do now is hope that Mrs Vicar is strong enough to pull through. Even if she makes it through the next few days, we are not out of the woods, and we will be treating her for a number of months.”

Peter Ansell, chairman of the Friends of Horsey Seals, said: “Two and a half years after receiving our first report, Friends of Horsey Seals are happy to announce that on Easter Sunday we finally had an opportunity to effect a successful capture of the seal nicknamed "Mrs Vicar" and she is safely in the hands of the RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre.

“Mrs Vicar was so called by us due to the prominent white plastic collar around her neck, which has turned out to be some type of flange possibly used in large scale pipework.

“This poor animal has had this flange slowly biting deeper into her neck as she grew bigger, finally inflicting a deep and bloody wound around the entire circumference, but we are delighted to have been able to now leave her with the brilliant and dedicated team at EWWC, where she will receive first class treatment, and ultimately be returned to the sea.”

The RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre has launched a fundraiser to help pay for fish to feed the sick, orphaned and injured seals in their care. The centre cares for over 150 seals each year and the cost of mackerel to feed them is rising, costing the charity a whopping £3,999 for three pallets of mackerel.

To help support the wildlife centre and provide fish and salt for seals in need, visit their fundraising page here.

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