A young seal pup was rescued by the RSPCA after being found alone, with a stick through the eye at Freiston Shore Nature Reserve - around 2km from the sea.
A couple who were walking their dog came across the seal at around 6.30pm last Friday and called the charity.
Animal welfare officer Kate Burris attended and found the youngster - a common seal pup - with a nasty eye injury.
“I was very surprised to find the seal where he was - nowhere near any water,” she said. “He was discovered on the salt marshes, at least 2km from the sea.
“He had a really awful injury to his eye in which a stick had pierced the eyeball.”
This pup was obviously in distress. But not every lone seal pup you may see will have been abandoned, advised the RSPCA.
Kate added: “If members of the public are concerned about a seal or pup they spot on a beach, we ask that they observe them from a distance for 24 hours and do not approach.
“Too many seal pups are taken into captivity because people mistakenly think they have been abandoned. However, some pups can be separated from their mothers by storms and others may not feed properly for some reason and need help.
“If the individual looks fit and healthy, and shows no signs of distress, please don’t touch them. An underweight pup will look thin with a visible neck whereas healthy pups have no visible neck.
“But, if it’s a pup and the mother doesn’t return within 24 hours, or if you think the seal may be sick or injured, please call our 24-hour advice and cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.
“Seals are wild animals and have a nasty bite so it is also advised that dog walkers keep their pets on leads on beaches with seal colonies.”
The seal is now being cared for by staff at RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre, in Norfolk, where he is doing well and is receiving treatment for his injury.
Once he has recovered fully from his ordeal, the RSPCA will release him back into the wild.