Entangled seal saved on Norfolk beach in evening rescue

Friends of Horsey Seals rescue seal Monday evening

Volunteers for Friends of Horsey Seals managed to rescue this two-year-old seal before it became too dark. - Credit: Marine Wildlife Rescue

A seal was rescued in the nick of time after fishing netting became wrapped around its neck.

Volunteers of the seal welfare charity, Friends of Horsey Seals, managed to rescue the injured seal before it became too dark on Monday evening.

The netting was safely removed and the wounds were treated before the seal was released back into the sea.

Friends of Horsey Seals rescue seal from Eccles Beach

Sally Butler managed to rescue the seal from Eccles beach before it became too dark - Credit: Julie Sisson

Rescue volunteer Sally Butler, 57, from Eccles, said: "We were first called out to Bacton at about 1pm but unfortunately the seal had gone back to sea. We were called by a dog walker just before dusk and managed to locate the seal at Eccles beach.

"We know the location really well, however it was getting dark though which made visibility difficult."

Miss Butler, along with partner Julie Sisson, 47, also from Eccles, managed to find the seal just before 6pm. 

Friends of Horsey Seals save seal from Norfolk beach

The seal was captured in the net quickly before it escaped back into the sea. - Credit: Julie Sisson

"We can't do rescues in the dark as we have to ensure our own safety as well. Thankfully we had just enough light to spot it. Because it was so close to the water's edge, we got it into the net as quickly as possible. 

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"Getting the netting off its neck took a lot of time as it was wrapped around four or five times and it had become dark."

Unfortunately the nearby East Winch Wildlife Centre were full and could not help the seal, so Miss Butler and Miss Sisson had to treat the seal themselves.

Friends of Horsey Seals rescue seal from Norfolk beach

The fishing net was wrapped around the seal's neck 4-5 times and was difficult to remove - Credit: Julie Sisson

"The seal had a cut 1cm deep round the back of its neck but it wasn't infected. We sprayed the wound with antiseptic spray and checked it was okay. We decided to release the seal back into the sea as the wound wasn't too deep."

The following day they spotted the seal further up the coast, having found another group of seals. 

"We were relieved to see it was okay. You never know if these seals survive or not but with the wound not too deep hopefully it will.

"It wouldn't have survived without our help with the netting wrapped around its neck like that."

The welfare of seals has become an increasing point of concern this year after several incidents of entanglement and people harassing seals has put them in danger.