RSPCA pleads for care over litter after injured seal pup is rescued on Essex coastline

  Posted: 08.04.21 at 15:21 by The Editor

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Residents of coastal areas are being urged to take extra care with litter after a seal pup was rescued on Essex shores with horrific injuries caused by a black plastic sack.

Gnocchi, one of last year’s grey pups, was rescued from Walton-on-the-Naze last month by rescuers from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) who rushed him to the RSPCA’s wildlife centre in Norfolk.

When he arrived he had an awful wound around his neck - and when vets first examined him they weren't quite sure what was causing the injury.

But after the seal was given pain relief and antibiotics they began work on removing the restriction from his neck and to their horror they realised it was a black plastic bin bag.

Centre manager Alison Charles said: “My heart actually sank when I realised this poor seal was suffering as a result of someone’s discarded litter.

“You really think you’ve seen it all and then along comes something new - which inflicts horrific injuries and causes so much damage.

Gnocci before treatment

“It seems such an innocuous object - but this small plastic bag has caused untold pain and injury for poor Gnocchi and it makes me so cross because it could have easily been avoided if people disposed of their litter properly. We have to do more to stop rubbish ending up in our waters and causing such damage to our precious wildlife.

“Gnocchi is going to need weeks, if not months of care, his injury is very deep and infected. “We’ve removed all of the bag from his neck and he’s currently being given pain relief and antibiotics as well as regular salt baths.

“The trouble with these types of injuries is that the seals get something caught around their neck - but they can’t get them off by themselves and so become trapped in them.

“And as they grow bigger the object then cuts deeper and deeper into their neck - causing these horrendous ‘necklace’ injuries which are sadly becoming more and more common in seals.”

-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.

An ordinary bin bag caused the problem

To help support the wildlife centre and provide fish and salt for seals in need visit the Just Giving page using the link here.


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