A grey seal who was severely injured by a plastic ring frisbee stuck around her neck has become the second of her kind to be released back into the sea off the coast of East Anglia.
The seal, named Pinkafo, was nursed back to health then released at Norfolk’s Horsey Beach on Wednesday, almost 15 months after a seal nicknamed Mrs Frisbee was released at the same spot.
Volunteers from Friends of Horsey Seals and Marine and Wildlife Rescue caught Pinkafo at Waxham Beach in December and she was taken to the RSPCA’s centre at East Winch, near King’s Lynn.
Who remembers Pinkafo, one of the three seals we have rescued with a frisbee stuck around their neck in the past year? After a long road to recovery, we are supaw excited to announce that she was released back to the wild today: https://t.co/L6gYw7MEFY Video credit: @KLFM967 pic.twitter.com/OeigGDX7G1— RSPCA (England & Wales) (@RSPCA_official) May 1, 2019
A pink plastic frisbee was embedded in her neck, causing a deep wound which had become severely infected.
It echoed the injuries to Mrs Frisbee, who was found with a yellow frisbee cutting into her neck in September 2017.
A third seal, named Sir David – after nature broadcaster Sir David Attenborough – was found with a plastic frisbee deeply embedded in his neck last month and is still being cared for at the RSPCA wildlife centre.
Pinkafo, who weighed 10st 7lb on release, was treated with antibiotics, pain relief and regular salt baths.
Her injury is still visible, but it had healed enough for her to be released and will continue to improve and mend in the salt water of the sea.
Alison Charles, RSPCA centre manager at East Winch, said: “Pinkafo has had a long, difficult road to recovery, so it is wonderful to see her bound back into the sea where she belongs.
“The staff and volunteers have been incredible and have put in so much hard work in Pinkafo’s care. Watching her return back to the wild is the result we all wanted to see.”
She said the frisbee was cut off with surgical scissors, and it took three days before she started to eat and then she began to grow stronger.
“She later went into an outside pool, and she continued to get fitter and stronger and grumpier as the weeks went by,” said Ms Charles. “She was certainly ready to get back to the wild.”
She said Pinkafo’s recovery would not have been possible without all involved in her care and those who donate to the RSPCA.
“Although this is a happy ending for Pinkafo, there are still sadly other seals on our coastlines with frisbees caught around their necks, and we still have Sir David in our care, who will require months of TLC before he too is ready to return to the wild,” she said.
Sir David is likely to be in RSPCA care for at least five months and he requires salt baths as part of his rehabilitation, she said.