Snorkeller saves Lundy seal caught in plastic ring

The seal entangled in the plastic ring. The seal entangled in the plastic ring.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014
9:12 AM

Rare moment as snorkeller gets close enough to save young seal entangled in a piece of litter.

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The scar left by the piece of plastic.The scar left by the piece of plastic.

A YOUNG seal has amazed the community on Lundy by allowing a snorkeler to remove a plastic ring from around it.

Lesley Harper, of Seastyle Diving, encountered the seal while on a trip to Lundy on charter boat Jessica Hettie.

She said: “The seal suddenly appeared with this plastic wrap around it.

“Luckily I managed to coax it off and stuff it in my pocket. The seal was acting like it was a toy!”

The seal entangled in the plastic ring.The seal entangled in the plastic ring.

Beccy MacDonald, Lundy warden, said normally they would discourage people from having direct contact with seals.

“However on this occasion Lesley did a wonderful thing and helped this curious youngster,” she said.

“If Lesley had not removed the plastic ring, the ending may have been very different particularly if the seal had been unable to break free.

“Unfortunately, there are a number of seals around the North Devon coast, and across the UK, who carry the scars of passed entanglements.

“Many of these scars are found around their necks as curious seals have a tendency to play with rubbish, particularly nets, within which they become ensnared.”

Regular beach cleans and underwater clean ups can reduce the chances of marine mammals coming into contact with potentially harmful rubbish.

If you would like to get involved take a look at the Surfers Against Sewage and Marine Conservation Society websites for details of their beach clean events in your area.

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