'I just hope she doesn't find another frisbee' - Calls to boycott plastic rings as injured seal released
PUBLISHED: 14:53 01 May 2019 | UPDATED: 15:07 01 May 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
Having spent months living in the lap of luxury, Pinkafo the seal seemed less than enthusiastic about returning to life on the breezy east coast.
Having spent months living in the lap of luxury Pinkafo the seal seemed less than enthusiastic about returning to life on the breezy east coast.
But once she caught the scent of the sea the Atlantic grey rushed towards the waves flexing her flippers in delight in the rippling surf.
Watched by a bank of cameras, wildlife charity workers and volunteers hailed the release as a huge success after months of diligent nursing at the RSPCA's animal hospital in East Winch.
Pinkafo, originally called Mrs Pink Frisbee, was just clinging to life when she was finally caught by the Friends of Horsey Seals on December 19 last year.
David Vyse who was there on the day said patrols had been waiting and watching for three months to ambush the animal who was being slowly killed by a frisbee cutting deeply into her neck.
Emaciated and close to death it was touch and go whether she would make if through the first night and to see her race towards the shore with barely a backwards glance was all that anyone could have hoped for.
Alison Charles, East Winch manager, said the frisbee was so deeply embedded it had to be cut out with garden secateurs and shattered pieces picked out of her flesh.
Rehabilitation meant salt baths and stretching exercises to minimise the effect of scar tissue and keep the neck mobile.
She said of the release at Horsey Gap on Wednesday May 1: “It was fabulous. That is the best bit of our work, but it seems so unnecessary with all this plastic rubbish. And to think we didn't see this before 2008.
“When she came in in December she was in a terrible state with a deep infected wound and very nearly dead.
“But she was ready to go, she is fit and healthy and her time had come.
“I just hope she doesn't find another frisbee.”
Ms Charles said patrols knew of two more seals that were suffering because of frisbees in the waters off Norfolk.
People buying toys for their dogs are advised to buy a solid frisbee rather than the hollow ring, which ideally should not be sold at all in seaside shops because of the risk to wildlife, she added.
Giving Pinkafo a second chance had cost thousands of pounds in fish alone.
Meanwhile another seal, Sir David, is still in isolation while he recovers from similar injuries.
Peter Ansell, chairman of the Friends group, said it had been “brilliant” to see Pinkafo back in the wild.
On the day there were hundreds of seals basking on the sands at Horsey Gap, not their usual spot, as if to greet her.
At the moment there are plenty on the shore because they come out of the water to moult.