One seal has died and another is fighting for it's life after being caught in fishing netting at Horsey in Norfolk.
The RSPCA say they are now battling to save the life of the seal they've named Galactica who was found with deep cuts to her neck.
Galactica was spotted on the beach on Sunday, May 24 and the Friends of Horsey Seals group collected her and rushed her to the RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre.
Staff there said that Galactica was the second seal they had seen with fish net injuries that week.
Manager Alison Charles said:
“We admitted an adult seal last week who had been rescued by the Friends group from Horsey with fishing netting tangled tightly around his neck and head. His head was swollen and we later discovered it was full of pus.
Galactica is the third seal to be admitted this year and the 56th taken in by the Norfolk centre since 2008.
Last year (2019), was the worst yet with 11 patients arriving at the centre due to these injuries, up on the eight from the previous year.
Alison added: “This issue isn’t going away and we need to act to better protect our beautiful wildlife. Plastic and fishing litter is a silent killer for these beautiful animals, sitting beneath the surface of the waters and out of our sight.
“Seals are inquisitive creatures who can easily become tangled or trapped as they search for food. Netting quickly weighs them down, makes it hard for them to swim and hunt, before slowly cutting and embedding into their flesh causing horrendous injuries and infection.
“Sadly we know that the seals who make it to us are the lucky ones and I fear there are many, many more out there in our waters suffering the same fate.”
The charity receives more than 5,000 reports every year about animals who have been injured or trapped by litter.
Galactica is now being treated with painkillers and antibiotics. A vet has removed the netting which cut deeply into her flesh.She will then begin a long rehabilitation process which will include daily salt baths to gently clean the wound and help it heal.
Every year East Winch takes in more than 150 seals, from orphaned pups who have been separated from their parents during storms to adults being strangled by litter and netting.