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Stephen Mulhern and Emma Willis 9am - 12pm
21 February 2018, 04:11
A seal who was found on a beach in Norfolk last year with a yellow plastic frisbee embedded in her neck is to be released back into the wild.
The adult female grey seal – who has been nicknamed Frisbee – was found in an emaciated state on Horsey Beach in Norfolk last September.
Although she had been spotted by rescuers around six months earlier, she managed to elude capture until she became too ill to keep up with the rest of her group.
She was finally caught by the Friends of Horsey Seals who used a net to scoop her up and took her to the RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre.
Staff, who said Frisbee had been starving for a long period of time and was on the brink of death, were then able to cut the frisbee from her throat.
RSPCA manager Alison Charles said: “Seals are inquisitive creatures by nature, so it’s likely she spotted the frisbee in the water and went over to investigate and that’s how it became stuck round her neck.
“Over the months she has grown and as result it has become more and more embedded in her neck and it is likely that towards the end it would have been restricting her from eating and drinking.”
The injured seal spent five months with the RSPCA being treated with antibiotics, painkillers and steroids to heal the deep and infected wound.
Frisbee, who staff describe as a “fighter”, will now be released back to her home beach at Horsey Gap, Norfolk.
Her plight highlights the problems discarded plastic marine litter can cause for the UK's wildlife.
Peter Ansell, chairman of the Friends of Horsey Seals, told Sky News: “They get these things stuck around their neck – we call them ‘necklaces’ for want of a better word – things like fishing nets, rubber tyres, fishing lines, and in this case a frisbee. They get their heads through, but can’t get out.
“Just last week we found another seal on the same beach with a fishing net embedded tightly around her neck, and sent her on to the RSPCA hospital too”.
Mr Ansell said at least five other seals with things stuck around their neck have been sighted on the beach, but rescuers have so far been unable to catch them.
He concluded, “While people keep throwing stuff into the ocean, we’re going to have to put up with the end result, which is the destruction of sea creatures.”
:: Sky's Ocean Rescue campaign encourages people to reduce their single-use plastics. You can find out more about the campaign and how to get involved at www.skyoceanrescue.com
(c) Sky News 2018: Seal who had frisbee stuck around her neck to return to the wild