Campaign launched after 'heartbreaking' cases of seals trapped in plastic rings

Volunteers say they've had to rescue more and more seals trapped in plastic rings. Credit: Friends of Horsey Seals

A campaign has been launched to highlight the dangers toy plastic rings pose to seals along our coast.

Volunteers in Norfolk say they're dealing with more and more incidents of seals getting trapped in plastic, ropes, netting and other litter discarded in the sea.

They say enough is enough and, as thousands head for the beach to enjoy the warm weather, they're determined to get their message across.

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Peter Ansell, Chairman of The Friends of Horsey Seals has urged people not to bring the toy plastic rings to the beach.

"Young seals find the plastic rings floating in the sea, stick their heads through them and because their flippers can only go backwards they can't get them off. Then the more the seal grows, the tighter it gets until it ends up cutting through the skin." >

Peter Ansell, Friends of Horsey Seals
Grey seal 'Sir David' was found with a plastic ring cutting into his neck. Credit: Friends of Horsey Seals

This month a grey seal - affectionately named after Sir David Attenborough - was released back into the wild.

He had been severely injured on Horsey beach with a plastic ring stuck around his neck. He was nursed back to health at East Winch Wildlife Centre near King's Lynn.

The new campaign, which is backed by the RSPCA and British Divers Marine Life Rescue, was launched on Winterton beach and features a painting from local artist Lorraine Auton.

Jo Collins, British Divers Marine Life Rescue

"I think it's getting worse. There's so much plastic in the sea now anyway and I don't think the public realise the effect it has. We tend to try and help the wildlife on land but we don't know what's going on out at sea. We see it when we're diving. We see the rubbish on the seabed. We know it's getting worse and we need to do something about it."

"There's so much plastic in the sea now and I don't think the public realise the effect it has. We tend to try and help the wildlife on land but we don't know what's going on out at sea. "We see it when we're diving. We see the rubbish on the seabed. We know it's getting worse and we need to do something about it." >

Jo Collins, British Divers Marine Life Rescue