Norfolk

Horsey seals injured by rings and netting

Seal with ring around neck Image copyright Rosie Barrett
Image caption The seals were spotted off the coast of Norfolk

Three seals with plastic flying rings stuck around their necks have been spotted by wildlife volunteers.

A further two seals have been seen tangled in netting in the last fortnight at Horsey, in Norfolk.

The animals were swimming and feeding as normal, said David Vyse, from the Friends of Horsey Seals wildlife group.

They would be caught and treated when they were weakened, he said. The charity had reported a rise in the number of seals injured by rubbish.

"We have a seal with a ring around its neck and one with the ring around its body - and we've now seen a bull seal with a ring around its neck," said Mr Vyse.

"The others are tangled in netting. It's really, really bad at the moment."

Image copyright Rosie Barrett
Image caption The seals come on the beach to rest, but are too close to the water to capture, David Vyse said.

Photographer Rosie Barrett said she had visited Horsey twice a year for at least six years.

"This was definitely the worst I have seen it," she said.

"The last three times there has been at least one seal with a Frisbee or something around their neck."

Ms Barrett was "devastated" to see yet more seals "suffering" when she was at the beach on Thursday, she said.

Image copyright Rosie Barrett
Image caption A bull seal with a ring circling its neck was the fifth to be spotted

"The seal charity and RSPCA are fantastic at what they do and always catch them eventually but it takes so much work and planning to be able to get them safely," she added.

The recent sightings come as the RSPCA reported there were 28 such incidents recorded against seals in 2018 compared with five in 2015.

A female grey seal is being cared for by the East Winch Wildlife Centre after it was rescued last month with a "horrific necklace" injury caused by rope.

Another grey seal left with a deep infected wound caused by a plastic ring around his neck was returned to the sea in early July.

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