Shocking images of dead seal spark pleas to ban flying rings

Some of the seals along the Norfolk coast with their heads stuck in a plastic ring which have yet to

Some of the seals along the Norfolk coast with their heads stuck in a plastic ring. - Credit: Friends of Horsey Seals

Shocking pictures of an near-decapitated seal has sparked a fresh plea for people not to use flying disc toys on beaches.

The graphic photos - included at the bottom of this article due to their horrific nature - shows a dead seal lying on its side at Pakefield beach on Thursday, March 31. Around the animal's neck is a plastic flying disc separating its head from its body.

The photographer said: "The photos are graphic. However, this is reality."

In April 2021, an adult grey seal who had had a plastic ring around her neck for two years was rescued on Horsey Beach. The seal - christened Mrs Vicar - was kept at the RSPCA centre in East Winch for over a month where she had daily salt baths to help heal her wounds.

Mrs Vicar the grey seal was rescued at Horsey

Mrs Vicar 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

Events such as these led to the Friends of Horsey Seals group organising the Save Our Seals campaign at the Great Yarmouth's Sea Life Centre.

Members of the public were instructed on how to help protect seals while still enjoying their presence on Norfolk beaches.

Following the events at Sea Life Centre, Friends of Horsey Seals launched their Flying Rings Kill Seals campaign and led information events on the dangers of hollow Frisbee-like toys on the beach.

Peter Ansell on the beach

Peter Ansell, chair of Friends of Horsey Seals. - Credit: Jo Davenport

Peter Ansell, chair of Friends of Horsey Seals, said: "We are happy to say we have not come across as many flying rings on beaches recently.

"Perhaps the message is getting home. 

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"Unfortunately, there are other types of plastic rings in the sea though - whether it's litter, or castaways from boats. And they cause almost as much damage.

"When removed from the necks of seals, flying rings and other plastic debris is devastating.

"Seals' heads can flop about and the wounds are usually bloody. Quite often, wounds become infected.

"This year, it is expected beaches will be packed and we have asked nearby stores not to sell the flying rings and some have made changes to their stock.

"If we can stop the flying rings then that's a start.

In November, Great Yarmouth Borough Councillors signed a letter to the government urging for the sale of the toys to be banned from stores close to the beach.

The photos of the seal (graphic)

Dead seal with flying ring round its neck.

This shocking image has led to fresh pleas for people not to use flying ring toys on beaches. - Credit: Supplied

Dead seal with ring round its neck.

Curious seals will often investigate litter in the sea. - Credit: Supplied

Dead seal with plastic ring round its neck.

The plastic ring caused severe wounding on the seal's neck. - Credit: Supplied

Dead seal with plastic ring round its head.

The dead seal was seen on Pakefield Beach on Thursday. - Credit: Supplied