Norfolk

Wounded Norfolk seal faces wait for treatment on neck

Seal at Horsey, Norfolk Image copyright Carole Fox
Image caption The bull seal is "full of testosterone" and "difficult to catch", according to a local wildlife group

A seal thought to have been wounded by netting might have to wait for weeks before being treated, a charity said.

The bull seal, who is surrounded by females on the Norfolk coast, has a deep neck wound but vets do not want to approach him during breeding season.

The RSPCA said he did not appear to be in "imminent" danger, but they hoped to remove what was believed to be the embedded netting in January.

It said it did not want to disturb the mothers while they nursed their pups.

The public beach at Horsey, about 12 miles (19km) from Great Yarmouth, has had breeding grey seal colonies since 2003, according to the Friends of Horsey Seals.

Image copyright Graham Horn
Image caption The Friends of Horsey Seals said 804 pups were born at the beach last winter

Peter Ansell, chairman of the group, which patrols the beach to try to prevent people disturbing the animals, said: "The poor old boy does look pretty gruesome.

"At this time of year, all the bulls want to do is dominate their competitors and mate, so he's among the ladies and full of testosterone.

"You could never catch him and if you tranquilised him with a dart there's a risk he could bolt into the sea, lose consciousness and drown."

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He said the breeding season would not finish until mid-January.

An RSPCA spokeswoman said they wanted to remove any netting, but the bull still seemed "strong and mobile".

"Although we are concerned for the seal's welfare, he does not appear to be in imminent danger," she said.

"We have to be very cautious as we do not want to disturb the pups and nursing mothers.

"As soon as it is safe to do so, once the pup season is over, we are planning to try to catch him so we can remove the netting from his neck."

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