Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Seal pup almost drowns trapped in lobster pot

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionHoudini the seal pup was trapped inside the lobster creel for about an hour

A seal pup trapped in a lobster pot on an Island in the Forth almost drowned after it took an hour to free itself as the tide came in.

Visitors and staff watched in "horror" as the live footage was beamed into the Scottish Seabird Centre in East Lothian from CCTV cameras.

The incident on the Isle of May happened on Tuesday.

Environmentalists are now warning of the dangers of marine litter and urging people not to pollute the sea.

The seal pup has now been called Houdini by staff at the centre.

The mother stayed by its side throughout, even as the waves crashed in around the pair.

The seal pup managed to escape, however, it is now not known if it is still alive as later a young seal pup was seen dead next to the rubbish.

Paul Nixon, of the Scottish Seabird Centre, said: "Seal season is a fantastic time at the centre, with around 70 seal pups now on camera on the Isle of May.

"The scene was incredibly distressing for our visitors, staff and volunteers as we all watched, willing the pup to escape from drowning.

"People around the world also watched the drama live on the Seabird Centre website."

He added that while seals may look cute they can be extremely vicious animals who will fight to protect their young.

"This makes human contact nearly impossible," Mr Nixon said.

"Visitors to the centre will see there is rubbish washed up on the Isle of May shore which is extremely difficult to get to and it poses a threat to the seals there.

"Every year, marine litter kills thousands of marine mammals and seabirds around the world."

Throughout October the Isle of May is home to about 3,000 seals, making it the largest grey seal colony on the east coast of Britain.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites