Late this morning we had a call from Happisburgh Coast Watch on the North Norfolk Coast. They were observing an adult male seal on the beach who they thought to be very poorly and they unexpectedly witnessed a fisherman throw something towards the seal. It must have given the seal quite a scare as he managed to summon up the energy to haul him self back into the water albeit very steadily. He was too weak to swim so he let the tide take him along towards Eccles.
I rang some of our ‘Shore Watchers’ to see if he could be found and quickly. Stefan Ganther from Eccles located him and told us where to find him.
The tide was almost in and we had a 20 to 30 minute window to get him assessed. I know that we couldn’t get there that quickly. A few phone calls later, to see who was where and David from Wild Touch diverted himself over to Eccles and arrived with minutes to spare. He called me back to say that the seal was too poorly to attempt a big team going out to try and rescue him and he needed to be put to sleep urgently.
The tide, as expected, washed the poor soul back out to sea. Alison and I made tracks to Happisburgh to keep the dog walkers away from that direction. After some discussion Stefan knew that, due to the large sand bar in that location, the tide would gently put him back ashore just before the first reef at Sea Palling. I was talking to Bob from the RNLI when Stefan’s second call came to say he had managed to locate him again. Bob kindly helped us with directions as it really is a maze in and around Eccles.
I had been in touch with RSPCA inspectors all afternoon and I knew that they wouldn’t be able to get to us before the light went. Daniel from Marine Wildlife Rescue, who holds a licence, agreed to come and put him to sleep. We had to have a police presence there, whilst the deed was being done, because it was a public place. It all came together very smoothly in the end.
I hope that the fisherman hangs his head in shame for his thoughtless actions this morning. He certainly put that seal through a very unnecessary amount of stress and suffering. He could have been quietly put to sleep this morning when he was first seen.
I truly can’t thank everyone enough for their support and amazing help today. I am also feeling very proud of my ‘shore watching’ team and I thank the Lord that Stefan found the poorly injured seal, not once, but twice. Alison and I are feeling a bit empty and drained now.
However, we also feel very proud of the way that Marine Wildlife Rescue, Wild Touch along with two inspectors from the RSPCA helped us to pull all this together in such a short space of time.