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Touring Norfolk coast to highlight danger plastic toys pose to seals

PUBLISHED: 14:08 23 August 2020 | UPDATED: 14:08 23 August 2020

Jenny Hobson, left, from Friends of Horsey Seals, with supporters at Hunstanton  Picture: Chris Bishop

Jenny Hobson, left, from Friends of Horsey Seals, with supporters at Hunstanton Picture: Chris Bishop

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Campaigners are touring the Norfolk coast to highlight the dangers plastic beach toys pose to wildlife.

A grey seal which had a frisbee caught around her neck for six months until she could be caught and treated by the RSPCA  Picture: David VyseA grey seal which had a frisbee caught around her neck for six months until she could be caught and treated by the RSPCA Picture: David Vyse

Friends of Horsey Seals brought a life-size model seal with a throwing ring around its neck to Hunstanton on Sunday to illustrate how the animals can be injured.

Curious pups play with the rings after they find their way into the sea.

As they grow, the plastic cuts into their necks eventually strangling them if they can not be caught and taken to a wildlife hospital.

Jenny Hobson said it was not known how many of the animals were injured and killed each year because much of their time is spent at sea.

Jenny Hobson, from the Friends of Horsey Seals, campaigning against the use of plastic flying rings in Hunstanton  Picture: Chris BishopJenny Hobson, from the Friends of Horsey Seals, campaigning against the use of plastic flying rings in Hunstanton Picture: Chris Bishop

But she added: “I was on Horsey Beach yesterday and I saw two - one with a white ring, one with a yellow one and there was another one with a pink and blue ring at the beginning of August.

“I would be very happy if they weren’t produced and sold as beach toys. The main danger is beach toys. If one’s sold in Birmingham and used in the park it’s not a problem.”

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Mrs Hobson has made a life-sized grey seal which has been injured by a flying ring with help from Norwich-based artist Rebecca Elliott.

A seal with a plastic ring embedded in its neck at Horsey Picture: Friends of Horsey SealsA seal with a plastic ring embedded in its neck at Horsey Picture: Friends of Horsey Seals

The display includes an amnesty box, where people can leave throwing rings to be disposed of safely by being cut up.

Many inured seals are taken to the RSPCA’s East Winch Wildlife Centre, near King’s Lynn to be treated.

Its manager Alison Charles said: “It’s just horrendous, I removed a ring from one seal and I thought her head was going to fall off because the wound was so deep and so horrible. This poor animal had suffered because someone had bought a cheap flying ring.

“We are not anti-fun, but I wish people would not take them onto the beach but rather buy solid discs instead.”

The campaign has the backing of the RSPCA, Marine Wildlife Rescue, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Cromer Town Council and Hunstanton Town Council.

On Monday, the friends group will be at Sheringham. On Wednesday it will be at Cromer, followed by Horsey on Thursday and Winterton on Saturday.


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