Stricken Orkney seal pup saved from an agonising death after being caught in a fishing net

Sea mammal rescuers came to the aid of a young seal entangled in fishing nets and saved it from dying a slow, painful death.

By Stephen Wilkie
Friday, 20th May 2022, 8:45 am

Experts from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) charity walked for more than two miles to reach the stricken grey seal in Sanday.

The alarm was raised by a walker on Tresness, prompting a full-scale emergency response, Orkney were called out to an entangled young grey seal Sunday afternoon at Tresness.

The BDMLR team found the pup snoozing beside a rock pool a little way from the large grey seal colony and fortunately, with spring tides at the moment, it was well away from the water. After a quick discussion to set a plan of action, the medics were able to get down to the animal for a closer look.

The stricken seal's mournful eyes appear to be pleading for some human help Pic: BDMLR/Emma Neave-Webb

It was apparent that a small piece monofilament netting was around the neck and cutting into the flesh. Had it been left in place as the pup grew the net could have led to it starving or being choked to death.

Following a brief dip in the rock pool to try and escape, the seal hauled back out and the medics were able to restrain it and safely remove the net. The wound was checked and the decision was made to release the animal straight away as there was no sign of infection and should heal quickly.

Due to the very remote location of the animal, it would have been a long and stressful hike back to transport and then an overnight stay before a ferry to the nearest vet the following day.

BDMLR is a charity which relies on donations, which can be made at https://www.justgiving.com/bdmlr

The seal had to be held under a towel while the net was cut free Pioc: BDMLR