Seal trapped in plastic ring for two years rescued in Norfolk

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

A seal which suffered a 7cm deep wound due to a plastic ring around its neck for two and a half years is now receiving treatment.

The adult grey seal was caught at Horsey Beach on Easter Sunday by the seal rescue team, part of Friends of Horsey Seal.

Around its neck was a 2.5cm white plastic ring embedded in her neck and as the seal has grown the plastic has cut deeper into her neck as well as becoming infected and "very smelly".

The group said the collar was first sighted nearly two and a half years ago, leading to the seal to be dubbed Mrs Vicar.

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

She is now being treated at RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre, in west Norfolk, but will require months of care.

Alison Charles, manager at RSPCA East Winch, said: “Sadly, we know the seal had the ring around her neck for over two years. I’m so grateful she’s now been rescued and we can care for her. She is very quiet this morning and her wound is very sore with a bad smell but we are hopeful she will recover. 

Mrs Vicar the seal is receiving care in west Norfolk

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

RSPCA caring for a grey seal

In the last two years, the RSPCA has received 8,092 calls about animals injured or caught up in litter. - Credit: RSPCA

“We can start giving her the salty baths she needs to help her neck wound recover soon. We add two 25kg bags of salt to each bath and she has one bath a day until her neck has begun to granulate. This is the healing process when you can not debride and stitch a wound.

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“It’s so infuriating knowing that this injury could have been prevented. All we can do now is hope that Mrs Vicar is strong enough to pull through. Even if she makes it through the next few days, we are not out of the woods, and we will be treating her for a number of months.”

In the last two years, the RSPCA has received 8,092 calls about animals injured or caught up in litter. 

The RSPCA is caring for the seal

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

Peter Ansell, chairman of the Friends of Horsey Seals, said: “This poor animal has had this flange slowly biting deeper into her neck as she grew bigger, finally inflicting a deep and bloody wound around the entire circumference, but we are delighted to have been able to now leave her with the brilliant and dedicated team at EWWC, where she will receive first class treatment, and ultimately be returned to the sea.”


Mrs Vical the seal in 2018 at Horsey Beach

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


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