Seal saved from horrific injury is released back into the wild

Mrs Vicar the seal is released back into the sea after three months of specialist medical care follo

Mrs Vicar the seal is released back into the sea after three months of specialist medical care following her rescue at Horsey when she was spotted with a frisbee embedded around her neck. Teams from the RSPCA and Seal Rescue helped with her release. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

A grey seal saved from horrific injuries returned to the wild watched by those who nursed her back to health.  

Mrs Vicar, as she became known, suffered horrific injuries from a plastic ring which stuck around her neck when she was young. As she grew, the rigid plastic cut into her neck.

The stricken creature was frequently seen off Horsey Beach. She was finally captured by the Friends of Horsey Seals on Easter Sunday, after more than two years of agony.

Glen Mingham, a Friend of Horsey Seals warden, took this photo of Mrs Vicar in 2018.

Glen Mingham, a Friend of Horsey Seals warden, took this photo of Mrs Vicar on the beach at Horsey in 2018. - Credit: Glen Mingham

By this time, the ring had caused a wound almost three inches deep, which had become infected. Staff at the RSPCA's East Winch Wildlife Centre, near King's Lynn, feared it might have been too late to save her.

Mrs Vicar the seal is released back into the sea after three months of specialist medical care follo

Mrs Vicar the seal is released back into the sea after three months of specialist medical care following her rescue at Horsey when she was spotted with a frisbee embedded around her neck. Teams from the RSPCA and Seal Rescue helped with her release. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

But three months after an emergency operation, she had grown strong enough to be returned to the wild. After bobbing around in the tidal Nene near the iconic Cross Keys swing bridge, she was ready to roam the seas again.

Ben Kirby, centre manager at East Winch, said: “The wound on Mrs Vicar’s neck will always be very visible - and is a sad reminder of how much damage plastics in our seas can cause to the natural world.

Mrs Vicar the seal suffered a 7cm deep cut around her neck due to being trapped in a plastic ring fo

Mrs Vicar shortly after she was finally captured on Easter Sunday. The seal suffered a 7cm deep cut around her neck due to being trapped in a plastic ring for nearly two and a half years. - Credit: RSPCA


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“The vets and staff at East Winch have worked incredibly hard to rehabilitate this special seal so that she could one day be returned back to the wild.

Mrs Vicar the seal is released back into the sea after three months of specialist medical care follo

Mrs Vicar the seal is released back into the sea after three months of specialist medical care following her rescue at Horsey when she was spotted with a frisbee embedded around her neck. Teams from the RSPCA and Seal Rescue helped with her release. Byline: Sonya Duncan Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

“While the scars around her neck will always remain, the salt water will continue to heal her neck. She’s now a healthy weight and we’ve done all that we can for her - it’s now up to her.

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“Since day one she has just fought and fought to survive and never gave up despite how sick she was. We just all feel so proud to have been able to help her with this second chance.

The plastic collar measured 2.5cm and was embedded in the seal's neck.

The plastic collar measured 2.5cm and was embedded in the seal's neck. - Credit: RSPCA

“It’s a huge credit to everyone involved in her rescue and rehabilitation that she has now been returned back to the wild where she belongs.”

The RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre also launched a fundraiser to help pay for fish to feed the sick, orphaned and injured seals in their care.

Mrs Vicar the seal is released back into the sea after three months of specialist medical care follo

Some of the team who helped to nurse Mrs Vicar back to health at the RSPCA's East Winch Wildlife Centre - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The centre cares for over 150 seals each year and the cost of mackerel to feed them is rising. Supporters donated hundreds of bags of salt and also thousands of pounds to a fish appeal.

Mrs Vicar the seal suffered a 7cm deep cut around her neck due to being trapped in a plastic ring fo

Mrs Vicar's deep neck wound is visible as she recovers after her operation at the RSPCA's East Winch Wildlife Centre - Credit: RSPCA

A safer seals campaign was launched earlier this year to highlight the dangers posed to wildlife by plastic rings.

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