A YOUNG seal pup suffered horrific injuries after discarded fishing line became entangled around its neck in Scarborough’s South Bay.
The pup, which has been christened Frankenstein by its rescuers, is currently being cared for at the town’s Sea Life Centre and it is expected to be three or four months before it can be released back into the wild.
Steve Crawford, a local representative for campaign group Surfers Against Sewage, spotted the trapped animal and called for help.
He said it highlighted the problem of litter on our beaches. He added: “We were walking back along the rocks after our surf and we noticed a young seal nearby. As it moved away we saw it had a gaping wound all round its neck and there was fishing line dangling from it.
“As we moved closer it shuffled off towards the sea barking at us. We decided to walk to the car and try and get help. I called a friend at the local Sea Life sanctuary and they said they would come with some rescue equipment.”
He said it only took a couple of minutes to catch the seal and he was taken to a vet for treatment.
Mr Crawford said: “He was sedated and treated. The line had cut about 4cm through the skin and into the blubber. Luckily the muscle and arteries had not yet been damaged.
“This is a classic example of people’s carelessness, a relatively small piece of discarded line caused a seal pup a lot of suffering and nearly its life.
“If we hadn’t found it when we did the injury would have soon caused enough damage to stop the seal feeding and it would have slowly died of starvation and infection from the wound.”
Todd German, a senior aquarist at the Sea Life Centre, said the pup was making a good recovery and had needed more than 20 stitches to treat the wound.
He said: “The cut was at least 2ins deep into its neck. The saving grace is its physiology – there is plenty of blubber.”
Mr German said that the treatment was unusual because they would not normally give a seal stitches and he had been christened Frankenstein because it looked like he had his head stitched back on.
l Mr Crawford has organised a beach clean from noon on Sunday March 25. Volunteers should to meet on the beach, near the Spa, and all equipment is provided – just wear suitable clothing.