Norfolk rescuers 'devastated' after seal caught in netting dies

Seal dies after rescue at Horsey beach

The large bull seal was found with netting wrapped round his neck. - Credit: Friends of Horsey Seals

A large bull seal found caught in netting on a Norfolk beach has died from his injuries, despite the best efforts of rescuers.

Welfare charity Friends of Horsey Seals, alongside Marine and Wildlife Rescue, were called after the seal was found  between Horsey and Winterton on Monday, February 7.

The seal had wounds four inches deep and was taken to RSPCA East Winch for treatment.

Seal dies after getting caught in netting at Horsey Beach

It took seven people from Friends of Horsey Seals and Marine Wildlife Rescue to capture the large bull seal - Credit: Friends of Horsey Seals

The animal was "extremely poorly and emaciated" and was treated with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories

But Envangelos Achilleos, centre manager at RSPCA East Winch, said the seal died "despite the best efforts of the team" who are "devastated to have lost him".

He said: “It’s hard to describe how much pain and distress netting and litter can cause a seal – they are weighed down by this huge mass of discarded netting, which must make it hard for them to swim, and then the net starts to cut and embed into their neck too.

"The injuries can be horrendous, sometimes inches deep, and all the while the seal is becoming weaker and weaker and cannot feed so their suffering continues.

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“We fear there are many, many more out there in our waters suffering the same fate, but they are never seen."

Seal dies after getting caught in netting Horsey beach Norfolk

The rescue operation took over an hour and the large seal was then taken to RSPCA East Winch for treatment - Credit: Friends of Horsey Seals

It took seven people to rescue the seal, who was taken off the beach using an all-terrain vehicle.

Jane Bowen, volunteer at Friends of Horsey Seals, said the seal could have been caught up in the netting for a year and it would have gone deeper into his flesh as he grew. 

She added: "We are devastated by this outcome.  He is just one of an increasing number of marine animals losing their lives because of discarded waste in our oceans."

"Seals can't swim backwards so once they get caught with something round their neck, they continue to swim forward, making it get stuck further and further down its neck."