Horsey volunteers rescue second seal with frisbee stuck around neck
PUBLISHED: 14:04 20 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:12 20 December 2018
An animal rescue group has found a second seal with a frisbee stuck round its neck on the Norfolk coast.
The first Atlantic grey, nicknamed Mrs Frisbee, was rescued at Horsey beach in 2017 by volunteers from the Friends Of Horsey Seals group.
The yellow plastic disc, which cut into the seal’s neck as she grew bigger, was removed at the RSPCA’s East Winch Wildlife Centre near King’s Lynn.
She was nursed back to health and released into the wild in February this year.
David Vyse, of Friends of Horsey Seals, said a second seal was rescued at Horsey beach on Wednesday.
The seal, with a pink plastic disc around her neck, has been named Mrs Pink Frisbee by the group.
She was first spotted in September and a team of four volunteers from groups Friends Of Horsey Seals and Marine and Wildlife Rescue finally managed to capture her using special nets and a stretcher.
Mr Vyse described it as a “horrible predicament” for Mrs Pink Frisbee, a female grey seal who he estimates is about four years old.
He said the frisbee is “deeply embedded and extremely infected”.
Mrs Pink Frisbee has been taken to the RSPCA centre at East Winch for treatment, he said, where they gave her the name Pinkafo,
Alison Charles, manager at RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre said: “When this poor seal arrived, she was in an appalling state - very sick and weak with a heavily infected neck wound.
“Our priority was to remove the pink plastic frisbee which was deeply embedded in poor Pinkafo’s neck. It was a very difficult job, as the plastic was particularly tough, and we had to remove it piece by piece with a pair of garden secateurs.
“We treated her immediately with pain relief medicine and antibiotics before leaving her in peace and quiet, settling her down for the night as she was very stressed. We were extremely concerned about her condition overnight, but thankfully this morning she was still hanging on. As well as continuing medication, we will be floating her in salty water to help the deep wound start to heal.
“Sadly, this is not the first time we’ve had to care for a seal injured by plastic litter. In September last year, we admitted Mrs Frisbee, another female grey seal with a yellow plastic frisbee deeply embedded in her neck. Happily, she responded to treatment, and following several months of rehabilitation, we were able to release her in February this year.
“We sincerely hope that Pinkafo also has the strength to pull through, but she is definitely not out of the woods yet and the next few days will be critical.
“Pinkafo’s predicament had been known for some time, with many sightings of her, but unfortunately it was impossible to catch her until she had deteriorated so badly that she had become very weak. We are so grateful to the Friends of Horsey Seals and the Marine and Wildlife Rescue for their perseverance.
“It is heartbreaking to think that this could have been prevented if people just took extra care with their litter. Many people are just unaware of the problems discarded plastic can cause for our wildlife.”
Mr Vyse said there have been four more reported sightings of seals with frisbees around their necks off the Norfolk coast.
When Mrs Frisbee was admitted to the RSPCA centre last year she was described as having an extended neck like a concertina.
She was given antibiotics and steroids, and fed a mackerel diet.
She swelled from 67kg (10 stone 7lbs) to 180kg (28 stone 4lbs) in the five months before her release back into the North Sea.