Seal fighting for life after suffering neck wound from plastic in sea

PUBLISHED: 11:52 31 May 2018 | UPDATED: 11:59 31 May 2018

Neck wound from plastic in sea leaves Norfolk seal fighting for life. Pictures: RSPCA

Neck wound from plastic in sea leaves Norfolk seal fighting for life. Pictures: RSPCA


A grey seal is fighting for life after becoming entangled in carelessly discarded plastic fishing netting which has created a wound around his neck.

Neck wound from plastic in sea leaves Norfolk seal fighting for life. Pictures: RSPCANeck wound from plastic in sea leaves Norfolk seal fighting for life. Pictures: RSPCA

The young adult male is being cared for at the RSPCA’s East Winch Wildlife Centre, near King’s Lynn, after being rescued by Friends of Horsey Seals charity.

The group found him with 10ft of fishing paraphernalia - a tangle of old netting and rope - wrapped tight around his neck.

Alison Charles, manager at RSPCA East Winch said: “This is a horrendous injury and the poor seal has been fighting for his life. He’s extremely emaciated - probably half the weight he should be.

“When he arrived here, he was exhausted and wouldn’t move. We didn’t think he would make it through the night.

“When we removed the multifilament nylon netting wrapped tight around his neck, we could see he had an extensive, infected flesh wound ringing three quarters of his neck.

“Once our vet had removed the netting, she put him on a course of antibiotics and pain relief and, happily, he may now have turned a corner. He has even started eating again, though we’re taking it one step at a time.

“We will float him in a salt bath each day to bathe his neck and if anyone wants to help with his care, we would really welcome more salt from our Amazon wish-list.

“This year we’ve already had four seals admitted due to injuries from carelessly discarded plastic. This seems to be part of the more widespread problem of plastic in the sea.”

All seals admitted to the centre are given a name. This year they are being given names related to Indian takeaways, with the wildlife centre’s latest admission, Downham Tandoori, joining Ladoo, Raita and Kulfi.

Meanwhile, the RSPCA is advising people to stop taking selfies with seals, as they can give a nasty bite. In addition, dogs or other animals should not be allowed to harass a seal. If you see a seal - or any other animal - in distress call the RSPCA emergency line on 0300 1234 999 or visit

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