Rescuers save seal pup from strangulation

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A five-month-old grey seal pup has escaped slow strangulation thanks to the efforts of rescue volunteers and the Scarborough Sea Life Sanctuary.

Staff at the Sanctuary were first alerted to a seal pup with fishing net around its neck when it was spotted at Hornsea, but not until the pup beached in Withernsea a week later that volunteers from British Divers Marine Life Rescue were able to catch her.

“There was a combination of monofilament net and thin rope digging into her flesh,” said Sea Life’s Lyndsey Crawford.

“Her wound stretched from shoulder to shoulder and was up to three inches deep,” she added.

“Fortunately these seals have very thick layers of blubber, but left much longer it would have slowly cut into her nervous system or possibly strangled her to the point where she was too ill to feed and would have died a slow and painful death.”

It took three people using tweezers and scalpel more than an hour to remove the netting.

“Wounds in seals heal more effectively without stitches, which can cause secondary infections,” Lyndsey added.

“Regular cleaning and a frequent change of saltwater will help her heal quickly and should enable her to move out of our indoor hospital into the convalescence pool in four or five weeks time.”