Heartbreaking pictures show rescue of seal injured by dog toy

Volunteers rescued the seal using a special stretcher
Volunteers rescued the seal using a special stretcher

A seal has been rescued by after being found with a dog toy embedded in his neck off the Yorkshire coast.

The grey seal pup was injured by a frisbee-style toy at Ravenscar Beach, and his blubber had become infected around the area where the item got stuck.

The stricken seal on Ravenscar Beach

The stricken seal on Ravenscar Beach

The RSPCA and Scarborough Sea Life Centre mounted a rescue operation on Sunday August 20 using a special stretcher.

The RSPCA's Leanne Honess-Heather said:

“We had been told that it was a small seal pup with green plastic caught round its neck, so just two of us attended the scene initially.

“But when I arrived at Ravenscar with seal expert Todd German from the Sea Life Centre, we could see the grey seal was a young adult and was behaving aggressively. He had a frisbee dog toy stuck tight round his neck which had cut into his flesh and caused an infection. It was clear we would need more pairs of hands to safely rescue him, so additional reinforcements from Sea Life arrived with a special stretcher.

“The guys were able to secure the large injured seal in the stretcher and then carefully cut the frisbee off. The plastic ring had given the seal a nasty neck wound, which was cleaned then treated. We judged that the injury would now heal by itself, so we released the seal, which made a quick dash for the sea.

“I would like to thank the Sea Life guys who assisted me in their own time and did an amazing job.”

The charity believes the incident is a result of a large amount of litter and debris being abandoned by visitors to the coast. They organised a marine clean-up in Scarborough back in July, and collected a huge haul in just two days. Items retrieved included plastic bags, bottles, broken fishing nets and rope, as well as large amounts of discarded netting which the RSPCA commonly finds seals trapped in.