'Enough is enough' says East Winch RSPCA as seals admitted with distressing injuries
RSPCA staff at East Winch are battling to save the life of a seal who was rescued with deep lacerations to her neck after getting tangled in fishing netting.
Juvenile grey seal Galactica was collected by the Friends of Horsey Seals from Horsey on Sunday after being spotted on the beach with the blue plastic netting tangled tightly around her neck.
Speaking about a similar inicdent before Galactica, East Winch RSPCA manager Alison Charles said: “We admitted an adult seal last week who had been rescued by the Friends group from Horsey with fishing netting tangled tightly around his neck and head. His head was swollen and we later discovered it was full of pus.
“As we desperately tried to untangle the netting from him he died. It was heartbreaking to see this big, beautiful creature die as we battled to save him.
“Then, Galactica arrived just a few days later with the same injuries caused by the same culprit: fishing netting. Enough is enough.”
Galactica is the third seal to be admitted this year and the 56th taken in by the Norfolk centre since 2008 due to injuries caused by fishing litter.
Last year was the worst yet with 11 patients arriving at the centre due to these injuries, up on the eight from the previous year.
Mrs Charles added: “This issue isn’t going away and we need to act to better protect our beautiful wildlife. Plastic and fishing litter is a silent killer for these beautiful animals, sitting beneath the surface of the waters and out of our sight.
“Seals are inquisitive creatures who can easily become tangled or trapped as they search for food. Netting quickly weighs them down, makes it hard for them to swim and hunt, before slowly cutting and embedding into their flesh causing horrendous injuries and infection.
“Sadly we know that the seals who make it to us are the lucky ones and I fear there are many, many more out there in our waters suffering the same fate.”
Galactica is now being treated with painkillers and antibiotics. A vet has removed the netting which cut deeply into her flesh.
She’ll then begin a long rehabilitation process which will include daily salt baths to gently clean the wound and help it heal.
She is likely to be in RSPCA care for a number of months and will require at least four 25kg bags of salts a day with each bag costing more than £14.
Every year East Winch takes in more than 150 seals, from orphaned pups who have been separated from their parents during storms to adults being strangled by litter and netting.
Seals are extremely expensive to look after so if you’d like to help East Winch take a look at the centre’s Amazon Wishlist: www.amazon.co.uk/gp/registry/wishlist/2QW97YL6JNRPQ/ (Delivery address: RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre, Gayton Road, East Winch, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, PE32 1LG).
If you see an animal you have concerns for call the RSPCA's emergency line on 0300 1234 999. Do not attempt to capture or handle an injured seal.
For more on what to do with injured wild animals, visit www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/wildlife/injuredanimals.