Seal saved from horrific injury is released back into the wild
- 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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
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.